Tuesday, May 6

The nudity-implying photo is a particularly unnecessary touch...

James Frey has a new novel out, and he gave only one interview for it, to Vanity Fair:


The article clearly is intended to not just give a little perspective on Frey's scandal, but also generate some sort of sympathy for the guy. The former goal is achieved nicely, I think, but the latter is just about impossible: no matter how soft-focus the portrait--hell, even forgetting the Million Little Pieces debacle--James Frey is an asshole, a classic overgrown frat boy who plays at being soulful but has no idea how vapid he really is.

A much better article--one made impossible by the fact that VF scored the exclusive interview--would have focused on Frey as a CHARACTER: a man with a juvenile notion of being a "bad boy," intent on proving to everyone that he's not just an insecure Whirlpool executive's son from the burbs but a loner and a rebel and an angelheaded hipster. And who then wrote a memoir reconfiguring or just plain inventing facts in his life to fit this self-image, but his downfall came when he began believing his own lies, leaving the world to point out once and for all just what a phony he is. His tragedy, just like every other tragedy (including our own, dear reader), was that he had betrayed his inner nature.

Frankly, it's pretty incredible that Frey can STILL engender such little sympathy. People hate the publishing industry, and Frey's defense that they mis-marketed his novel as a more-lucrative memoir seems increasingly more plausible, even probable. And, of course, America loves a second act. But Frey is such a choad he's overpowered whatever kindness we might feel for him. When the choice is between you and a publisher and you still lose, you know you've got problems.

Finally, of course, this idea that the article floats of Frey rising above the scandal of his first book hinges on forgetting that A Million Little Pieces is a piece of shit. Seriously, re-read the article: the author's feelings on the book's actual quality is conspicuously absent. Now if Nabakov had gotten busted trying to pass Lolita off as a memoir, I'd see their point. But this undergrad "experiment"? To paraphrase Bellow: plenty more where you came from, Frey.


Let's clear our palates with the incredible bento box creations of Sakurako Kitsa:



(Call me cynical, but I'm thinking that might not actually be her real name...)

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