Memoir. Is the genre tainted?


A million little lies? Oprah too harsh? I suppose with all the publicity lately, the temptation is to write Frey off as a hack and a liar. I don't want to be too hard on him, for other memoirist have been known to embellish and exaggerate for effect, but none have lied and so blatantly as Frey.
Having said that, i feel like Oprah's precious pride was so damaged that she stopped at nothing to make the obviously unstable and pyshcologically unsound Frey look like a complete idiot on national television. Was that necessary? Did she have to keep repeating the word "liar?" I feel like there might have been a more tackful method of handling the situation; after all, it is her responsibility to treat any and all guests with respect and dignity, not to berate and insult them in front of millions of viewers. She publically apologized, and i commend that. Why bring Frey on and add insult to injury? He, i'm sure is not completely rehabilitated, and this pathological type behavoir i'm sure is part of his still ongoing struggle with the personality disorders that got him addicted to drugs in the first place. I was scared that after i saw Oprah, he was going to either go home and hang himself, or find the first fix he could. Still nervous. You can't expect a person like Frey to be one-hundred percent. He's been through too much, ultimately this is his way of reaching out. He ultimately wants people to feel sorry for him and if he exaggerates the drama of his ordeal, then the whole world will sit up and take notice. Mission accomplished. However, he never thought it would backfire i guess. I suppose there is no such thing as bad press, right? Personally, i feel like he didn't have to lie. Any true account is fascinating. What we go through as humans is profoundly complex and unique, and you don't have to feel as if your story is not interesting enough- if it's honest, then it is sure to be compelling. If you are a good writer, (as Frey i believe is ) you need no embellishment. Anyone who has been through the ordeal of substance abuse and comes out on the other side clean is a story worth telling.
The danger with this kind of blow to the genre is a significant one as readers can become cynical and weary of non-fiction works. This is a travesty because non-fiction, when told acurately, is such a fundemental tool in teaching us about life and the world we live in – not some other fictional world where the stakes aren't as high. In the January edition of USA Today Random House is quoted saying, "he had touched the lives of millions." Well, i feel that we still cannot dismiss the fact that this "touching story" is part fiction. Somehow it carries less weight now. It is sad in a way…now he can never tell his real story. No one will listen.

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2 thoughts on “Memoir. Is the genre tainted?

  1. Tovah Means says:

    Too bad Oprah had to be so adament about “Proving the Lies”. I hope Frey can recover and find people who will support him and help him accept the truth…and hopefully he doesn’t sink into depression after receiving such public shame.

  2. Chris Atwood says:

    yeah, hope he doesn’t kill himself-he already went through that whole ordeal …–>

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