James Frey shook up Oprah's Book Club with A Million Little Pieces -- a detailed account of his battle with drug addiction and experiences in rehab. But it was the ensuing debate about the line between fiction and nonfiction that really rocked the literary world.
Read the interview
Hear our "pre-Oprah" interview with Frey (11:38)
|Frey's Controversial Debut|
|A Million Little Pieces|
Upon its publication in 2003, Frey's account of his stint in rehab was called "the War and Peace of addiction" by Pat Conroy and “the most lacerating tale of drug addiction since William S. Burroughs’s Junky" by The Boston Globe. Already a buzzed-about bestseller when Oprah picked it for her book club in 2005, the work quickly became a controversy magnet when allegations that major details were fabricated or embellished. Frey later admitted that most of charges were "pretty accurate."
Read an excerpt
|A Writer's Rituals|
|"I work normal hours, nine to five, and waste time like most other people do while they are at their jobs by talking on the phone, surfing the Net, reading the paper, and reading magazines," Frey admits in our October 2005 interview, when we asked about his writing rituals. "I have a quota of one page a day of polished, finished, publishable writing. I always meet it, though I usually do more. The only unusual thing I do is listen to music all day, sometimes at a high volume. My two dogs are also always in the room with me, usually sleeping."|
|A Friendly Follow-Up||Reading Recommendations|
|My Friend Leonard|
Frey's follow-up to A Million Little Pieces tells the story of his relationship with "Leonard" -- a high-living, secretive recovering coke addict and mobster who played a central role in Pieces. "As smart as it is heartfelt, this tribute to friendship is a far sunnier book than Frey's debut," Newsweek notes.
|Tao Te Ching: A New English Version|
Lao Tzu, Stephen A. Mitchell (trans.)
Frey told us that Lao Tzu's ancient book of Chinese philosophy "completely changed how I think and live my life." He reflects, "[It] teaches the principles of patience, simplicity, compassion and acceptance. [It] helped me get through some hard times in my life, and still helps me." Read our interview with Frey to learn about more of his best-loved books, including:
|Photo by Stuart Hawkins||