ETHOS

ETHOS

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

SO I only bought one item at the flea market— a first edition hardback of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. I bought the book on a whim when it first came out, read it, enjoyed it, and recommended it to the drug councilor at my school. She took my copy and, by the time I got it back, it was missing the dust jacket, the binding was broken, and it was stained strange colors. I didn’t mind, considering that the book was becoming as beat up as the author claimed to be. I let another friend borrow it, and I should have known, considering the friend… I never got it back.

THEN, Oprah endorsed it, I think my mom even read it, and all the stuff about the story being a bunch of lies came to the surface. Oprah berated the dude on national television, and everyone and their brother came out with a statement about the book, most of which added up to “I wasn’t fooled.”

CALL me a fool. I read it in 2003, I think I even shed a tear or two— something I miss about reading— and swallowed every line. Even the scene with the root canal. Was I mad that it wasn’t true? I have to be honest here. No. I couldn’t care less. The story happened for me in the place stories happen when I read them, and fiction or non-fiction, in my opinion it was a good one. In a way, I'm glad he lied so that it got published, and so I got to read it.

I know quite a few people who only read non-fiction. Usually, I consider this the mark of an immature reader, or someone without the gumption to daydream. In a few cases I’m right. In a few cases I’m not. But when someone writes a story that grips you, true or no, isn’t that magic? As Wireman says, "God punishes us for what we can't imagine." (Duma Key)

I’D say it’s worth a dollar.

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