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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Frey’s Fraud—The Truth Does Matter

The truth does matter, and anyone who doesn’t think it does, needs to get out a dictionary and look up the definitions of truth and memoir.

Thank you Oprah for relinquishing your support for James Frey and letting the public know that the truth does matter.

Oprah Winfrey WAS standing by her decision to back James Frey and his memoir A Million Little Pieces in her book club, stating, “What is relevant is that he was a drug addict who spent years in turmoil from the time he was 10 years old drinking and tormenting himself and his parents, and stepped out of that history to be the man that he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves.”

BUT after having given it more thought about being fooled by Frey, and receiving much criticism, some in the form of emails, about her decision to support him, Oprah decided to invite Frey back to her show Thursday not only to force him to explain why “he felt the need to lie,” but also to tell him, “It is difficult for me to talk to you because I really feel duped.”

For those who aren’t privy to the details, it seems we have a man who wrote a memoir; was fortunate to have Random House take him under his wing; even more fortunate to have his book picked for Oprah’s Book Club; and the book became a best-seller. And he accomplished this because…he hoodwinked everyone.

The Smoking Gun published an investigation about his book stating that many parts of his so-called “memoir” were fabricated. They cited proof that he lied about many incidents he said were true.

What Frey has done sickens me; he’s taken the credibility away from honest, hard working authors with his chicanery.

Just in case anyone out there may have misplaced their dictionaries, here are a few definitions for this news item.

Noun: memoir
A “true” account an author’s personal experiences.

Noun: fraud
Intentional deception resulting in injury to another person.
A person who makes deceitful pretenses.
Something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage.

Noun: chicanery
The use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them)

Pay close attention to the last six words of the definition above. You can bet with a bestselling book he fleeced a lot of dough from millions of unsuspecting readers.

According to this recent article, Random House is offering refunds to customers who purchased the book from the publisher.

What I’d really like to see is Random House stop printing his book. Granted they’re making money from this best seller, but the truth is, it’s become dirty money. Why let a deceiving person continue to profit from his lies?

Every hard working writer knows how difficult it is to break into the publishing industry. Frey has maimed the industry, the reader’s trust, and future authors’ chances of convincing a publisher to pick up a book that does tell the truth.

It takes a lot of guile to think it's okay to pass off fiction as truth. Just because what someone writes might be a good story, doesn't give him or her the right to fabricate the truth in a "nonfiction memoir."

The truth does matter, and anyone who doesn't think it does, needs to get out a dictionary and look up the definitions of truth and memoir. I suggest Frey be the first to crack open that dictionary!

Yes, the truth does matter, not only in life, but also when one writes about it and sells it as a memoir.
Frey's Fraud: The Truth Does Matter ETA link to BlogCritics

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