Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And more about the memoir form and Frey

Edward Wyatt, in today's New York Times says, "Memoir is a personal history whose aim is to illuminate, by way of example, events and issues of broader social consequence," said a statement issued by Doubleday and Anchor Books, the divisions of Random House Inc. that published the book in hardcover and paperback, respectively. "By definition, it is highly personal. In the case of Mr. Frey, we decided A Million Little Pieces was his story, told in his own way, and he represented to us that his version of events was true to his recollections. "Recent accusations against him notwithstanding, the power of the overall reading experience is such that the book remains a deeply inspiring and redemptive story for millions of readers." As far as the charges, which were made by the Smoking Gun Web site, "This is not a matter that we deem necessary for us to investigate," said Alison Rich, a spokeswoman for Doubleday and Anchor Books.

Publisher's Lunch reports: "Consumers posting on Oprah Winfrey's Book Club message board indicate that Random House is providing refunds to buyers of A MILLION LITTLE PIECES who call their customer service line to complain in the wake of the unanswered charges made by The Smoking Gun earlier this week. One correspondent posts: 'Tell them you wanted fact not fiction.... They are very nice and will tell you how to return the book for a full refund...'

Frey's publisher has made more money on this book than perhaps any book ever. I wonder what their position would be if the book had been minor, had there been no Oprah involved. Any guesses? Or am I just being a tad cynical? And how will this effect the memoir form, writers are wondering.

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