I’ve watched this whole Frey debacle WRT A Million Little Pieces being a memoir or an outright fabrication with increasing interest and horror.
In the first place, I get that there’s pressure on authors to market themselves a certain way. I really do. But that is not what this is about.
Oprah and Frey and Frey’s publisher are all very quick to tell us that memoirs are not about a true recollection of events. Hmm. They aren’t? Because while I would agree that everyone sees the past through the lens of their own lives and biases and remembrances can be faulty or certainly differ from others’ memories of the same event – one either went to jail for three months on a cocaine charge and got into a fight with cops or one got pulled over for an open container and did no time. There is not an issue of different memories here, this is an outright fabrication and that’s what fiction is for.
Memoirs are not meant to be fiction. That’s what “fiction” is for. Writers face issues of truth and marketing and the temptation to spice things up to make themselves more marketable all the time. But in truth, this is a matter of Frey lying and getting caught.
Does that mean A Million Little Pieces hasn’t touched people? No. But the inescapable reality is that he lied. Saying that one just lied a little and therefore did not lie but simply “embellished” the story would have been true if it had indeed been embellishment. But Frey has passed embellishment and embraced fraud.
Sadly, I must be jaded because while I’m annoyed at the situation, the the only thing I can get really het up over is that he’s slapped the face of people who’ve extended themselves and written honest and amazing memoirs by stating that a memoir can be outright fiction. That’s lazy.