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James Frey: Novelist

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Bright Shiny Morningby James FreyHarperCollinsMay 2008, 501 pages, $26.95

Bright Shiny Morning
by James Frey
HarperCollins
May 2008, 501 pages, $26.95


Funny how Bright Shiny Morning is referred to as James Frey’s first novel, while A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard are referred to as “false memoirs”, as though a genre exists that removes certain books from categories of fiction or non-fiction. Those book aren’t themselves fiction—just fakes, false and full of lies. A Million Little Pieces, the book that inspired a Smoking Gun investigation into its many inaccuracies, still sells, so someone’s reading it even with that new descriptor. Perhaps they’re the same people who read Andrew Morton’s bestsellers? Because, you know, it’s okay to publish lies as fact so long as those lies aren’t about you.


So, Bright Shiny Morning is doing quite well on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble lists. It’s received a handful of really good reviews, including a very positive one from Janet Maslin at the New York Times. And Frey is coming off as the damaged hero trying to make good, and actually kinda succeeding. Frey himself reckons he’s put 2006 behind him, and his new book is his first step towards building the career he should’ve had.


Susan Larson from the Times-Picayune shares her thoughts on accepting Frey as a novelist. She’s harsh, unforgiving about Frey’s earlier deception, but her view on the new novel is ultimately positive. There’s a good NPR interview with Frey up, too. That one opens with the word “fabricator”, but ends on a somewhat positive note as well.


Frey is proving himself quite the resurrectionist. His once-dead career actually looks like it may have a chance. Then again, unless you’ve been found hording child skeletons in your kitchen cupboards, there’s very little you can’t come back from. Especially in the entertainment world.

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