Nov 12, 2010

Insert Pun About “In the Frey” Here

What the heck.

James Frey has a YA fiction sweat shop.

I have so many problems with that man.

He thinks he’s the Messiah of Fiction.

Only cooler.

Because no one is as cool as James Frey.


To expand his greatness, Frey’s hiring MFA students, paying them about $500 for several months’ work, and having them write commercial YA fiction for him, so that he can sell the books to Hollywood and everyone can make lots of money. Mostly him, but other people will benefit too. How nice.

You may remember that Frey wrote a book about his addictions and arrests, fabricating details like how long he was in jail and how deep into addiction he fell. When the public, and specifically Oprah, found out that they had been tricked, there was a negative-media explosion.

Frey was dropped by his publisher and his agent, and he had to apologize to Oprah. (This happens to me all the time.)

Now, if you’re going to write a semi-fictional memoir, please go right ahead. If you’re going to write creative non-fiction and embellish so that the reader understands the way the events effected you, even if it isn’t a full representation of the events, do it.

Just say that that’s what you’re doing.

Frey, on the other hand, marketed his “memoir” as truth. When he got caught, he apologized to the plebes, but he was really only sorry that they didn’t understand his genius. Silly little Americans, they’re so obsessed with truth!

Here’s my issue: After all his highfalutin crap, he’s writing books and including fancy swords in them so he can sell Happy Meals to the kiddies. It’s totally contradictory. In Million Little Pieces, he wrote what was “true to him” or “true to the artistic vision of his life’s soul struggles” or whatever. Now, he’s writing books in tandem with Dreamworks.

That’s only “true to his desire to make rat-loads of money”.

I call “hypocrite”. And some other words.

I need to go pray.

Here’s an article about a writer who worked with Frey for a short time.

And here’s one with more details.

And here’s a link to the trailer of a movie that Frey has successfully sweat-shopped and sold to Hollywood.


Am I overreacting? Should I give the guy a break? What do you think about books (specifically  fiction) for money’s sake?



  • So sorry but I would probably also buy a book with a “fancy sword” in it….jus sayin”!!

  • Don’t have a pun, but do have a poem (sort of).
    It’s called: I Wish James Frey Was Fictional.

    I would not like him here or there.
    I would not like him anywhere.
    I do not like this man James Frey.
    I wish that he would go a-way.

    (Apologies to Dr. Seuss, who did actually say something print worthy.)

  • You may be overreacting a little bit 🙂 And given what he said in his interview in the first link you added, he’d be gratified to know that you’re mad enough to write about him and spread the word, because I had never heard of him before! But don’t worry, you’ve made it so I’ll never read his sweat-shop work. Or the fabricated work. Or any other kind he may put out.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Cadenhead and Heather Cadenhead, Jesse Doogan. Jesse Doogan said: Marvelous: An anti-James Frey poem, in the style of Dr. Suess: […]

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