Recap: Since he was ten years old, James Frey has been drinking. He’s been smoking pot since he was a teenager and doing hard drugs since he graduated high school. Arrests and sweet girlfriends couldn’t get him to stop. So finally one day, he woke up on a plane with a broken nose, missing teeth and no idea where he was headed. It turns out, he was headed to meet his parents, who were taking him to a rehab facility — one of the best in the country — at the age of 23. With his life and his heart in a million little pieces, he spends the duration of the book trying to put it all back together in rehab.
He gets into fights and refuses to accept the Twelve Step program. He starts dating a girl named Lilly even though it’s against facility rules. But eventually makes friends, reads books sent to him by his brother and makes amends with his parents, who visit for the family program.
Analysis: If you’re wondering “is this the ‘fake memoir’ whose author Oprah embarrassed on national television years ago?”, the answer is yes. But for me, the controversy that comes with the book makes it all the more interesting. Knowing the background allowed me to read the book more as a fictionally-embellished memoir or straight-up fiction novel and therefore enjoy it. Sure, had I read it ten years ago as a memoir and learned afterwards that many of the characters and experiences in Frey’s life were fabricated, I would have been upset. But it likely wouldn’t have — and didn’t now — stop me from still finding the Frey’s struggle with drugs both fascinating, sad and educational — however enhanced they may be.
Frey’s writing style also mirrors the struggle of an addict. New paragraphs are not indented. Many sentences are run-ons. Selective words are capitalized throughout the books, like Family or Girl or Fury. Those choices parallel the messiness, disorder and classification of things good and bad with which an addict tends to deal. One can assume that Frey’s staying sober is real since he’s now a well-known published author. The “friends” he references throughout the book mostly end up in jail or dead in the books’ epilogue. Even though those characters may not be real, I believe that their endings are likely real for most addicts of that level. The book’s details may not be real, but the experience seem true, and that makes it worth reading.
Get A Million Little Pieces in paperback for $9.25.
Or on your Kindle for $11.99.
Remember that time Paula Deen said something naughty? Apparently time heals wounds.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Paula Deen got a new book deal, two years after Random House dropped her following her racial SNAFU. Now Deen has an agreement with Hachette Book Group. The agreements gives Hachette permission to distribute around the world Deen’s books that were released under the Paula Deen Ventures label.
Deen’s first book with Hachette, Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, is expected to be released in September. Several other books are already planned for later releases.
It wasn’t too long ago that I reported J.K. Rowling’s first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, was being adapted into a BBC miniseries, set to air in the U.S. in the next few months. It seems that the miniseries is now causing a bit of an uproar in a small English town.
According to Entertainment Weekly, a lingerie shop was built for the set of The Casual Vacancy in Painswick. The Casual Vacancy centers around a parish council, and now people in the village of Painswick are making complaints to their actual parish council about the lingerie shop, as Megan Daley explains:
“They complained about it at the local parish council meeting,” the show’s director, Jonny Campbell, told The Telegraph at a screening of the first episode at BAFTA. “They said it was a disgrace on the one hand, but on the other a couple of little old ladies with white hair came walking past, looking in the window, and said ‘we’ve already got all that stuff.’
Not going to lie…kind of love this story.
The bad news keeps coming for Bill Cosby, who today resigned from his position on the Temple University Board of Trustees. While his status and job offers continue to change, one thing is staying the same: the details of his recently-published biography.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Cosby: His Life and Times will not be revised to include the latest news and allegations of sexual assault. The book’s author, Mark Whitaker, published the biography in September. Whitaker has said he may revise future editions of the biography since “the story has changed,” but he’s also defended Cosby.
It’ll be interesting to see if/how this plays out in future editions of the book.
It’s one of the biggest book brawls since the 2012 fight over e-book pricing. Once again, Amazon and Hachette are involved.
This time, according to The New York Times, it’s believed that Amazon wants to offer discounts on Hachette e-books, and apparently negotiations aren’t going well. In fact, they’re going so poorly that Amazon is now supposedly delaying shipment of some Hachette books and preventing preorders of some Hachette books.
It would seem that this is a battle strictly between Amazon and Hachette, but rather, it appears to be the start of a war between Amazon and many publishing companies, as Jonathan Mahler explains.
As part of Hachette’s antitrust settlement with the government, the company agreed to allow Amazon to continue to discount the price of e-books for two years. That agreement has expired, and for some reason — no one is sure why — Hachette is the first publisher to find itself in the position of negotiating a new one.
Other publishers are holding their breath. It is in their interests for [Hachette Book Group’s chief executive] Mr. Pietsch to drive a hard bargain, and they are cheering him on, but silently. They have their own relationships with Amazon to protect […]
So is the squabble close to being resolved? Doesn’t seem that way, but with many of the details of the negotiations being kept under wraps, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on and when it may finally end.