In 19 years in television "I've never been in this position before," said Winfrey, whose praise for Frey's book in September helped make it the top-selling book on nonfiction lists in the United States last year. "I really feel duped," Winfrey told Frey on her television show. She said he had betrayed millions of viewers. Winfrey began by apologizing to viewers for a telephone call she made to CNN's "Larry King Live" show on January 11, while King was interviewing Frey about the controversy. In the call Winfrey said that even though the facts were being questioned, the book "still resonates with me" and called the controversy "much ado about nothing." "I regret that phone call," she told her viewers on Thursday. "I made a mistake and I left the impression that the truth does not matter and I am deeply sorry about that. That is not what I believe."
I was able to watch the Oprah Show today. Oprah appeared to be completely irked by her guest, but kept her professional demeanor throughout. James finally admitted he "embellished" many details about characters and events in his book. Oprah was clearly dismayed by the authors deceitfulness when James admitted his girlfriend Lilly did not in fact commit suicide by hanging herself the day he was released from jail. In fact, he did not serve jail time at all and was in North Carolina tending to "personal business" when Lilly killed herself by slitting her wrists. It appears that the closest Frey has ever come to a jail cell was the few unshackled hours he once spent in a small Ohio police headquarters waiting for a buddy to post $733 cash bond. I also wonder about the truth regarding his relationship with Lilly. He never explains why she killed herself. Perhaps James had decided to move on and forgot about his promise to Lilly of "never". Frey appears to be a pathological liar and had a difficult time coming up with answers for Winfrey throughout the hour-long show. What he did say didn't seem to ring very true. Regardless, his credibility is trashed now. I certainly hope he's banked all the money he's made from "A Million Little Pieces" and his sequel currently on the New York Times Bestseller List "My Friend Leonard". But knowing American's, this publicity will only serve to boost Frey's book sales.
Overall, I still feel it was an interesting book, albeit a piece of fiction. I cannot in good conscience call it a memoir. It may be loosely based on actual events in Frey's life. Many writers use their own experiences to draw on when writing. It doesn't make the book a memoir.
You can listen to an interview with Frey for Barnes & Noble's web site here.
Click here for audio of Frey talking about his ordeal on a Doubleday promotional CD.