Go Home

daily dish

January  27

Oprah Chops Frey Into A Million Little Pieces

Did anyone see Oprah yesterday when she summoned ambushed invited author James Frey to an Inquisition the principal's office  her show for sweet revenge a public flogging  a final showdown? Haven't read the book yet, but like thousands of others whose interest has been peaked piqued -- causing a spike in book sales -- it's on my list...which is exactly what Oprah didn't want.  Your Daily Chat starts NOW:

January 27, 2006 in The Daily Chat | Permalink


Why would it be on your list, Annette? Especially now. Go find a book about POW's in Japanese camps during WWII. Far more harrowing. And true.

Or pick up "The Lost Weekend" by Charles Jackson. Now there was a guy who could write scarily about substance abuse from experience. And then there's Charles Bukowski.

Posted by: cathar (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 12:01:02 PM

It's piqued, btw.

I saw this episode and let me tell you, a pissed-off Oprah is SCARY! I actually started to feel sorry for those Hermes employees, despite the fact that they're French.

Posted by: trixie | Jan 27, 2006 12:03:45 PM

I read Frey's book before all the hoopla about it being fabricated. I found it riveting although looking back some of it seemed rather far-fetched. For instance, I don't see why a substance abuser wouldn't be allowed to have novacaine for root canal - it's not like it makes you high!

If you want a good confessional book that is less disgusting and possibly (although now I wonder) more true, read "Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs. For his rehab story, read "Dry." It is more upbeat and believable.

Posted by: mauigirl52 | Jan 27, 2006 12:05:20 PM

Cathar, I'll admit, the controversy has me intrigued..and I do like good fiction. But thanks, I am always up for book recommendations.

Posted by: Annette Batson | Jan 27, 2006 12:15:38 PM

Sounds like a pathological liar to me.

Posted by: Miss Martta (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 12:15:44 PM

IMHO - I suspect he sold it to publishers as a memoir because yet another drug fueled novel wouldn’t sell.

He didn't just lie to Oprah he did a 2+ year book tour talking up his "memoir"

Posted by: hrhppg | Jan 27, 2006 12:23:56 PM

Got a copy (read it before all the hoopla) that's up for grabs!

I also agree with Maurgirl about Augusten Burroughs books - they are great reads.

Posted by: Anne Prince | Jan 27, 2006 12:26:07 PM

Well, he should have promoted it as a piece of fiction then.

Posted by: Miss Martta (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 12:26:25 PM

I also thorougly enjoyed the Augusten Burroughs' books but just read that, thanks to Frey, some type of disclaimer is being added to his new book which comes out in either March or May, I think.

Posted by: talliewoo | Jan 27, 2006 12:31:48 PM

While we're all justly dumping on Frey (the scene reminded me of parochial school chastenings, and Oprah was Sister Pierre at her ruler-swinging best), can we also take a moment to honor Mozart? He didn't exactly tell the "truth" in anything he ever wrote, but he continues to move people with the honesty of his enormous talent.

Posted by: cathar (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 12:48:11 PM

One of the points made on Oprah yesterday was about how one person - in this case Frey - can ruin the credibility of other authors who have been honest.

I guess Augusten Burroughs'is the first.

Posted by: hrhppg | Jan 27, 2006 12:50:02 PM

Cathar - Can you make a recommendation for a book on the POW experience in WWII Japan? That sounds fascinating and it sounded like you had something specific in mind...

Posted by: Captain Vegetable | Jan 27, 2006 1:07:52 PM

FYI, Burroughs' next book, coming out in May, will have an author's note stating that some people and events are real, while other characters are composites and some events are changed. If more writers who feel the need to embellish details did this, backlashes wouldn't happen.

Posted by: Diane | Jan 27, 2006 1:31:17 PM

Captain, one I like is "Prisoners Of The Japanese," by Gavan Daws, and it's in paper. He covers all nationalities who were in POW camps, and his research isn't kind to Americans in terms of their resilience, compared to, say, prisoners from the Dutch Army of mixed race. He also tells a story of a Japanese-American, captured with his National Guard unit, who had to keep telling his captors that he wasn't ethnically Asian. I really liked that tale, it's not hard to imagine that the Japanese would have been particularly hard on him if they hadn't fallen for it.

There's also James Clavell's novel "King Rat," which was based on his own time in the notorious Changi Camp, which became a pretty good movie with George Segal. And Lord Russell of Liverpool's "The Knights of Bushido," which covers WWII war crimes in a fashion that might just make you never eat sushi again.

Posted by: cathar (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 1:31:52 PM

Ernest Hemmingway got away with Moveable Feast, which really was a series of quasi-fabrications. But I'm relieved that Oprah changed tack. The last thing we need is license to baldly lie in memoirs. (As opposed to lying while balding.)

Posted by: walleroo | Jan 27, 2006 1:36:54 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if the half-truths, delusional fabrications and outright lies from our President were greeted with the same hoopla and media outrage.

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
--George E. Bush April 20, 2004

Posted by: cheaplazymom | Jan 27, 2006 1:56:29 PM

Thanks, Cathar... the Gavan Daws book is now in my Amazon shopping cart, and the "King Rat" movie is in my netflix queue.

Posted by: Captain Vegetable | Jan 27, 2006 1:58:20 PM

Good post, cheaplazy mom!

Posted by: talliewoo | Jan 27, 2006 2:04:46 PM

Does anyone really care what is on Oprah's book list? yech. Also yech for the NY Time best-seller list.

Posted by: quaker-oats | Jan 27, 2006 2:08:05 PM

We could just listen to members of Clinton's administration on the issue.

"The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes," Deputy Attorney General [in the Clinton Administration] Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994, "and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."

"It is important to understand," Gorelick continued, "that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities."

Executive Order 12333, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981, provides for such warrantless searches directed against "a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power."

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 27, 2006 2:10:05 PM

hmmm, who was it that was complaining that a local eminent domain thread morphed into an abortion thread?

Now we have an Oprah book thread turning into a Bush bash/defend thread.

Posted by: Appletony | Jan 27, 2006 2:12:30 PM

And please note the morphing was started by a liberal. Harumpf!

Posted by: Miss Martta (8T) | Jan 27, 2006 2:13:54 PM

I read the book before the hoopla, and I do think it is a good read, whether fiction or memoir. It is too bad that some of it was made-up, because I do think that a lot of people were inspired by reading the book. Can it be all bad if it did help a lot of people?

PS I agree with cheaplazymom and talliewoo!!!

Posted by: happyphan | Jan 27, 2006 2:15:56 PM

Good point, ROC.

By the way, Clinton was impeached.


Posted by: walleroo | Jan 27, 2006 2:22:18 PM

Clinton was not impeached for wiretapping though. He was impeached for lying about sex. I think right now I'd be happier with Bush was having sex with interns than listening to my phone conversations!

Posted by: mauigirl52 | Jan 27, 2006 2:25:46 PM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map