just some thoughts for today . . .
James Frey and his book, A Million Little Pieces, have been ridiculed by the media, Oprah, Larry King, and others. Oprah went on a rather extensive diatribe against Frey on a recent show. Personally, I have yet to read the book, but I wanted to add some thoughts to the conversation. The book is a memoir and apparently contains some exaggerated and false stories. However, oddly enough, most critics agree that the integrity of the overall message still exists, despite the shadows of truth in some of the stories. This whole debate got me to thinking . . . are not many "facts" questionable to each individual's interpretation? Are not our memories suspect in the first place? Is it not true that 10 people can be at the scene of the same event and walk away with 10 different accounts of what happened? I'm not excusing Frey for overtly lying, but this matter does call into question all of our integrity.
When I reconstruct my own stories from memory they change with time. Right now I am in the process of writing my own book, and I am doing it true to what I remember as truth, but I doubt that all the stories are true in the strictest sense of the word. They are up to my interpretation, and my interpretation is flawed. I know that there are times on stage when I retell an event and I use a more dramatic way of telling it, exaggerating the story for an effect. Am I lying? No. The event factually happened as I told it, but the flare with which it happened may or may not be suspect, but is that not the magic of the oral tradition, the retelling of events? We've all seen it, we've all done it on some level, not intentionally wanting to deceive, but certainly wanting to entertain, heighten the lure.
But then again, I could be wrong. Perhaps it is only me and mr. frey who suffer from such story telling.