I looked at “A Million Little Pieces” (that Oprah’s Book Club memoir about the guy who was such a crackhead drunk that he almost drowned in his own sick on multiple occasions) like, ten million times at my favorite independent bookstore over the past year and never had the urge to read it. Call me prissy like that.
Apparently, many others did want to read about how he kicked his addictions, and the book outsold everything else last year besides Harry Potter, thanks to Oprah’s testimonial. Now that The Smoking Gun (and everyone else, hence) has broken the story that the author, James Frey, made up the goriest and most dramatic parts of his autobiography, Oprah’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Being the mensch that she is, Oprah backed Frey up on Larry King, saying it was the publisher’s shanda that they mismarketed the story as nonfiction rather than fiction. Then, as if she were trying to show Frey and the rest of the world that some people don’t have make sh*t up; that awful, violent, criminal things happen and some authors sit down and write the stark, painful truth about it without needing to exaggerate or embellish, she unearths a humble little book that would probably have been lost in another generation had she not pointed her magic finger at it.
Elie Weisel’s concentration camp survival memoir “Night” has been announced as Oprah’s next book selection. As it was written 45 years ago when Americans were still learning the details of Hitler’s evils in Europe, we can all be pretty sure that Weisel didn’t make up the most horrible parts of his book just so he could get an advance from his publisher.
Here’s a short interview with Weisel; at 77 the Nobel Prize winner is still sharp and passionate about humanity’s capacity to achieve peace.