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Posted: 1/10/2006 7:19:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 8:37:46 AM EDT by nightstalker]
www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/entertainment/13590437.htm

It was a non-fiction best seller, 3.7 million copies......

Guy was a good con-artist.

Looks like another one!  
Arts, entertainment, and more.

Picking Up the Pieces
How James Frey flunked rehab, and why his fakery matters.
By Seth Mnookin
Posted Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006, at 12:11 PM ET


About a third of the way into A Million Little Pieces, James Frey describes a scene that supposedly occurred at Hazelden, the Minnesota rehab where much of the book's action takes place:

A Man walks out on stage and Everyone starts clapping. I recognize the Man as a famous Rock Star who was once a Patient here. He holds up his arms in triumph and he smiles and he bows and his black leather is shining and his long, greasy black hair is hanging and his patterned silk shirt is flowing …

The Rock Star, Frey writes, describes how his meteoric success eventually led him to a dissolute life of drugs and booze:

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He claims that at the height of his use he would do five thousand dollars of cocaine and heroin a day mixed with four to five fifths of booze a night and up to 40 pills of valium to sleep. He says this with complete sincerity and with the utmost seriousness. … Were I in my normal frame of mind, I would stand up, point my finger, scream Fraud, and chase this Chump Motherfucker down and give him a beating. Were I in my normal frame of mind, after I gave him his beating, I would make him come back here and apologize to everyone for wasting their precious time. After the apology, I would tell him that if I ever heard of him spewing his bullshit fantasies in Public again, I would cut off his precious hair, scar his precious lips, and take all of his goddamn gold records and shove them straight up his ass.

Both of these stock characters—the narcissistic, pretty-boy rock star suffering from a laughable lack of self-awareness and the world-weary anti-hero who is choking on the crap society is shoving down his throat—are typical of the kind of cliché-ridden portraits that populate Frey's book. There's Frey's one true love, a woman who was, naturally, "tall and thin and long and blond like the thickest silk her eyes blue eyes Arctic eyes." There are the small-minded, small-town cops, "fat stupid Assholes with mustaches and beer guts and badges." There's the book-smart, life-dumb drug counselor, a "grown-up version of a kid who spent his childhood sitting behind a computer hiding from bullies." If a novelist wrote a book run through with these kind of straight-from-Central-Casting chestnuts, he'd be politely told to try again … as Frey says he was, by 17 different publishers, before, Frey says, Doubleday's Nan Talese said she'd publish his novel if he recast it as a memoir.
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