So then tell me what's so bad about what James Frey may or may not have done in his memoir? It's his story. Are people just pissed because it's billed as non-fiction? Would he have been wiser to write it as a novel? Is the label that important?
First, this is the scandal du jour. It's fun to talk about. It's drugs, sex, rock n'roll with a guy nobody likes. What's more fun than watching an arrogant prick get taken down for lying about such stupid stuff? Doing 1099s? nooooo Reading the slush pile? noooooooooooo.
Frankly, I think it's the degree of the lie. Yes people remember things differently. Remembering you've gone to jail if you haven't is either:
1. symptom of a severe mental illness
2. a very very strange way to distinguish yourself from the pack.
The thing about James Frey is his "memoir" is supposed to make you think he was at the botttom of the barrel, stinking of offal, drenched in blood, sweat and vomit, and thus his journey OUT was a challenge worth reading about and respecting.
It becomes a whole different matter when you find out there's not that much to respect since he not only wasn't in jail, he wasn't stinking of offal, he made up the story of his girlfriend's suicide and now seems to think there's something wrong with people being more than a bit taken aback by it.
I read a wonderful memoir by Trudi Chase called When Rabbit Howls. If I found out that book was faked, I'd be heartbroken, cause I saw personally how she inspired people with mental illness, and I thought she was courageous beyond words for going public with her story.
James Frey is mostly just the Scandal du Jour and lots of fun to talk about.
The interesting thing to watch is if Sean MacDonald and the very very very smart people who run Penguin USA keep Frey's next two novels on their list, and if he keeps his film deals alive.
It's all gossippy fun till we start talking money.