There is such malice in men as to rejoice in misfortunes and from another's woes to draw delight.
- Terence, Roman Writer of Comedies (B.C. 185-159)
This is the third in my ghost post series, so without further adieu, cue up the review . . .
In a career of unparalleled success, if Oprah Winfrey had just one regret, I bet you I can guess exactly what that one regret would be: making James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” her Oprah Book Club pick.
Oprah, Oprah, Oprah . . . that book was so full of shit I don’t know how you could have even swallowed a spoonful of it without gagging.
Right off the bat you know the guy is slinging it when he comes into the rehab and the doctor says he’s in the worst shape of anyone he’s ever seen at his age. You imagine however long the doctor has been working there, the amount of incoming junkies he sees on a yearly basis, and you’re thinking oh wow, imagine that, this guy wants us to believe he’s the worst that the doctor has seen out of hundreds, more likely thousands or tens of thousands of patients coming through the intake?
It then gets even more ludicrous when the very next scene, Frey is in the cafeteria and happens to piss off the toughest guy in the whole friggen’ place (of course he is) and this wasted, emaciated, wreck of a human being (the worst the doctor’s ever seen) actually stands down the tough guy, as if he’d been this close to kicking that guy’s ass.
Frey reminds me of a guy I met at an A.A. meeting who launched into this great story of how he was at some sort of a party with many of the stars from a Super Bowl a few years gone by and he told us all how he ended up drinking too much at the party and ended up getting sick and puking on the shoes of the coach Mike Ditka. That was the life-changing moment for him, the moment he knew he had to get sober.
Cut to a year later and here’s the same guy, and as he launched into it, I began recognizing he’s telling the same story about the moment he decided to get sober, but this time, the shoes belonged to the Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells.
Dude, you puke on the shoes of the coach who won the Super Bowl, you’re damn well going to remember which Super Bowl-winning coach it was. As soon as I heard him switch coaches in retelling the story a year later, I really couldn’t listen to anything the guy had to say after that because how can you believe anything he says at that point?
Just like the guy spinnin’ yarns about puking on the shoes of Super Bowl-winning coaches, at it’s core, A Million Little Pieces is nothing more than a million little lies.
Now some might argue that even if he did originally try to sell this book as a true-to-life autobiographical account (which he did) so what?
I’ll tell you why it matters. The book is about getting sober. It’s no wonder Frey claims he got sober without the Twelve Steps because many of the steps involve holding yourself accountable and being honest with yourself and others. This guy is obviously incapable of that.
I just hope that whole “I’m a compulsive liar here but I swear I haven’t had a drink” thing keeps working for Frey, just as I’m sure it’s working for the guy who’s in an A.A. meeting somewhere right now telling people about the time he puked on Tom Coughlin’s shoes.