Broken beyond repair
I remember the controversy of James Frey "memoir" A Million Little Pieces from when I was in sixth or seventh grade. My "Grammar and Literature" teacher, Mr. Vogt, told us it is an incredible read but not super appropriate for our age so maybe don't read it yet. But, he had good taste in books so I followed his lead and picked up the book.
It's still, to this day, my favorite book. I have some close seconds, including The Catcher in the Rye and I Me Mine, but as far as "memoir" style, A Million Little Pieces is so second to none in my opinion.
I also strongly remember the "exploitation" and anger that Oprah displayed when she brought him on her show, after choosing the book for her book club.
It's clear that she felt betrayed and a bit embarrassed that she promoted this book that was NOT a "memoir" at all, but she sold it to her book club as one.
Check the clip below for more insight to Oprah and her team's mindset going into this.
Whether it's true or not, (it isn't), the book A Million Little Pieces is one of my favorites regardless.
I love the opening of it. It's something I think of often:
“The Young Man came to the Old Man seeking counsel.
I broke something, Old Man.
How badly is it broken?
It's in a million little pieces.
I'm afraid I can't help you.
There's nothing you can do.
It can't be fixed.
It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces.”
The book is one that should be read by those of age and those interested in a "personal" reflection of life events. Don't categorize it as memoir, but don't denounce it as trash just because it was not necessarily promoted the proper way.
It's a great read, and a fast one at that. I hope to re-read it soon.
I also heard it's going to become a movie soon, which is awesome.