Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dear James, Last night I dreamt I was hurting you.

And when I woke up, I'd cut my giant marshmallow into a million little pieces.

Off heroin, sober, and not attending meetings.

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Dear James, I bought 6 copies.

I thought the writing was pretty good, especially when I belived it was born of real wounds.

I'm a pastor and a former drunk. I bought six copies of your book to give to various guys I meet with who are only sober for days at a time and who haven't (so far) been able to make the 12 Steps work for them. They loved your book, too. It gave them hope.

And that's why this whole episode is so sad. I'm guessing that those who have given you a pass on your charade are not those who are dealing with real addictions, personally or otherwise. They do not know how destructive false hope can be- how it can be seized on by the addict with a "Fuck it all, then..point me to the bar."

I've apologized to all of those who I gave the book to. I've apologized profusely, because now I have added to their already enormous bag of excuses for "not trying." I hope I can regain the level of trust with them that I had.

I do hope the sobriety part of your story is true. But since I now doubt your addiction story itself, then I may just be wasting more of my time even doing that. I don't want any money back, but if you can figure out a way to give me back some credibility, with guys who are starving for it, let me know..

Twelve years, three months, and counting,

David Weber

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Dear James, You don't owe me a penny -- just three or four hours of my life back

That's okay, James. You don't have to pay me. Someone lent me the book, a week or two before Oprah picked you for the book club. Said I'd never be able to put it down. Not only was I able to put it down, but I couldn't get past Chapter Four. When Oprah announced that yours was her next Book Club selection, I must admit, I was astonished. Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb, and... well... you, my prevaricating little friend. As someone currently enrolled in a fairly well-thought of MFA program in Creative Writing, I can tell you -- your prose leaves something to be desired. Something like, oh, say... style. Something like poetry. Something like an original thought that wasn't "ripped from the headlines" or "borrowed" from someone else's life.

After I passed the book on to the next unwitting victim, your book continued to both haunt me, and give me hope, all at the same time. Because I realized that, while I'll never get back that 3 or 4 hours I pissed away reading that awful piece of drek you call a book, I have the comfort of knowing that if James Frey can get published, then anyone can get published. And this fuels my own creative fire. I write fiction, too, by the way. Of course, I actually call it fiction, which is the difference between us.

So, there you go. It isn't all bad. You've given me hope for my future. See you at the next AWP convention.

~C.A. Sowards~

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dear James, Don't worry about it, Buddy.

Your book was great – people take things way too seriously. I’m pretty much willing to bet that no book published as “non-fiction” contains the complete truth – right down to history text books from high school.

I look forward to reading your next book.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dear James, this is a waste.

I think this whole thing is ridiculous and ignorant. Literature has always had "creative license" ; this hysteria is hypocritical and a sad statement on the condition of respect for creativity and imagination as a way of communicating in this shallow single minded culture.

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Dear James, Keep on truckin'.

You're a magnificent writer. Oprah behaved like a Pharisee. Please. Keep. Writing. It'll all pass sugar.

Sincerely, catherine alpern

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Dear James, Wipe that stupid sad eyed look off your face and take it like a man......

I bought your book in the airport on the way to the UK. The only reason I didn’t take it back for a refund as soon as I read the first little bit was because I was already in the air. Any FOOL should know that no-one could get on a flight in the condition you said you were. My husband is a published author of a few non-fiction books. We know the process. How could NO-ONE in the publishing process not have seriously doubted your integrity and raised questions about your lies? Because they are money hungry scum, too. You were lucky enough to fall in with a bunch of people just as sorry as you are. I’m glad to see you all embarrassed and looking like a bunch of fools. Not that I seriously think any of you have learned anything from it. Because if you’re sorry enough to do this kind of thing to begin with then that tells me all I need to know about your ethics and basic personality. I’ve always believed that one always ends up getting what they deserve in the long run. You will, too. This is only the beginning.

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Dear James, The public needs to get over it.

I am disgusted by how so many people have gotten on the band wagon to denounce someone who has done well as a writer. If you were an addict who wrote an autobiographical piece there would have to be some parts that were embellished, no addict can remember everything. That is what writing is about. I highly doubt that there are any bio’s out there that are 100% fact that would entertain and sell as much as yours did. Your readers paid for the good time, now they need to stop acting like a girl who went home with a guy at a bar and feels pissed because when he said “I love you” during sex he wasn’t telling the truth.


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Dear Jimmy, It's time to "work the Steps".

Step 8: Make a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when doing so would injure them or others.

Jimmy, I am one of those spineless, no will of my own, addicts who goes to a 12-step fellowship, NA (Narcotics Anonymous.)

As we study the steps and share with each other there is one theme that comes up again and again. Honesty. Honesty with ourselves, honesty with others. As addicts we all acknowledge we were pathetic liars. We lied without even thinking about it. It became a way of life for us. So Jimmy, we KNOW who you are.

But Jimmy, something happens to us as we work though the steps. For us it seems almost to be a miracle. We learn how NOT to lie. We discover how lying has hurt the people around us. And we find that lying to ourselves has devalued us. We find that we feel a lot better if we just keep it real.

Beyond that Jimmy, we make amends. We reach out. We try and find those we have hurt. The people we have stolen from, people we lied to. And we "make it right" the very best way that we can. It is amazing the weight this process lifts from us Jimmy.

If we stole money from them, we pay it back, even if it takes years. If we lied to them, we say "I'm sorry I lied" without all the BS reasons why. And we try to repair the damage that lie caused. And you know Jimmy, I'm thinking that if we sold a book that was filled with lies and BS. We would find a way to make that right too. We would get the money back to those we defrauded. Or at least give the ill gotten profits to an addiction charity.

But you see Jimmy, we're just pussies when compared to you. We asked a higher power (of our own understanding) for help. We worked the steps. We made our amends. And the weight was lifted from us.

However Jimmy, you, the "tough guy" worked your recovery "your way." No steps, no meetings, no "Big Book", no higher power, no amends. Just balls to the walls John Wayne-ism "I'm not gonna use." You're not "using" now (if we can believe you) but you are carrying that weight. That weight can be very humbling, it can bring you to your knees just when you think you're at the top of your game. It's called "relapse" Jimmy. Keep carrying that weight brother. We'll probably see you in a "step meeting" sometime years from now. Then you will be willing to make YOUR amends. And maybe THEN you'll offer to give my money back for your fictional book.

How do I know this? Because I was a "Jimmy." A tough guy. I knew I could "do it myself." There are lots of us "Jimmys" in NA, CA and AA. We're waiting for you Jimmy. You'll be here someday. And you'll tell us how you weren't the "tough guy" you presented in the book. But the "weak guy" who could only get by in life by lying. We'll listen, as you tell us how your "deal with the devil" was the money from that book for your integrity and piece of mind.

Perhaps then your amends will be an honest book, with an honest title. "How I Really Fucked Up My First Recovery And Damaged Addicts Who Trusted My BS"

Or are you just going to get that "check in the mail" to me?

Ed in Florida

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Dear James, you are the literary George Bush.

A rich mama's boy who "acts" tough.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dear Little Jimmy, I remember the day your book cover caught my eye in Barnes and Noble.

I bought it when it was out in hard cover, long before the halcyon Oprah days. I don't care for fiction but love biographies, memoirs, true crime stories, etc. I have to admit, I had suspicions about your story from the time you got on the plane, bleeding all over with the big hole in your cheek, to your fake sounding withdrawal, to when the dentist wouldn't even give you Novacaine for those root canals, and on and on...

But I actually began to entertain the idea that I was wrong when my daughter, who is a med student at Yale, told me you came to speak at her school. I figured "well I guess they must have checked him out- maybe he's legit after all..." And then when I heard you were on Oprah I figured I must be wrong (although I still had my doubts about that dental surgery). Now we all know you are nothing but a liar.

I think it stinks you trashed AA and managed to trash the Catholic Church with your sordid little tale about the crotch grabbing priest you mopped the floor with. You should be ashamed of yourself for the train story- I'm sure the families of those girls must feel wonderful that their daughters' deaths were of some use to you. I can't understand why your parents don't mind the way you trashed them but then again, maybe you shared with them some of the millions you've made from lying.

I am glad Oprah gave you grief on her show. I only wish I had known in advance- I'm not an Oprah watcher but I definitely would've tuned in for it. I feel gypped, cheated, bilked, defrauded, lied to, and yes I would like my $22.95 back. If there is a class action suit in New York State, I will be in line to get in on it. I hope your movie deal falls through and that you get the pants sued off you!

Oh and one last thing- I did see a clip of you talking to Oprah (or should I say whining to Oprah) and eeegads- what an annoying voice you have- you certainly didn't sound like the tough bad ass guy I was expecting to hear. If I were you, I wouldn't expect big sales of my book in audio unless you get someone else to read it and pretend it's you. After all, no one will know, right?

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Dear James, I feel cheated and want my money back!

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Dear James, I Knew You Were a Fraud By the End of the First Paragraph!

I’m a gate agent for a major airline in the United States. By the end of your first ‘graph, I knew you were full of baloney.

Jim, under NO circumstances would ANY airline personnel have allowed you to board ANY aircraft in ANY American city, in the physical condition that you described for yourself in the first few sentences of your book (the “warm dripping” of blood, the missing front teeth, hole in your cheek, broken nose and eyes swollen shut). You would have been denied boarding, hon. Your physical appearance would have been a big ol’ RED FLAG. As your gate agent, it’s been drilled into my cranium that the SAFETY of passengers and crew is paramount. This procedure’s not in the aftermath of 9/11, either. For a long, long time, we’ve had troubles with messed-up drunks (i.e., peed themselves and/or show-up looking like Santa Claus with remnant chunks on his/her face). It’s procedural to first call management. If you feeling seriously threatened, I would’ve called airport security and THEN my bosses.

But, Jim, before you arrived at my gate, it’s most likely that a Good Samaritan would’ve spotted you first and picked up an airport paging phone to report your distress and location. (Because, you see, MANY of us are hard-wired to “do the right thing” and respond to That Little Voice in our heads that speaks to us. This voice can say things like, “But Jim…it’s really NOT a memoir…don’t you think you should try pointing this out to Nan?”)

Now, if for some reason, you slipped by me and got on the plane, you could count on at least ONE – but most likely ALL -- flight attendants refusing your boarding and wanting you OFF the plane PRONTO. The Captain would stand by the crew and come out to the gate area to yell at me for letting you on the plane; then either a) demand security be called or b) place the call him/herself. If you were belligerent, the plane would’ve been evacuated and law enforcement would have come on board with billy clubs ready and the cuffs out.

Unfortunately, Nan Talese and the Random House/Doubleday Elite forgot all about this fundamental rule of airline. That’s because these self-important people are too self-involved to know what’s going on in the rest of the world that’s revolving around them.

So, this makes Nan and The Gang culpable. No USA TODAY ad exonerates them. BIG OOPS for everyone involved here – except for Miss Oprah. She’s off the hook. Not because she’s “nice” and the World Revolved Around Oprah, but because she flies on her own Gulfstream II (value: $3.75 million) and wouldn’t probably remember whaddup with public air travel procedures. See you in the “Exit” row, James. And many happy “First Paragraphs” in your writing future, too.

Sincerely, Bijou in Minneapolis

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Dear Little Jimmy, Deer in the headlights...

Your book was suggested to me. I read it and was captivated.

As someone that knows a thing or 2 about drug consumption, I found your usage amounts to be, well-bullshit...but I thought-it matters not.

When you talked of staring down mobsters and ex-cons, I kept looking at the picute on the backcover, and thinking...but you look like such a pussy. I chalked it up to a few years of donut eating sobriety and no exercise. Then I heard you talk on Larry King. Sorry dude, but the lisp in your speech makes you about as scary as JMJ Bullock.

You looked like a deer in the headlights on Oprah..pathetic.

I DO Want my money back! You not only took $15.00 bucks from me, you took hours away from my life. I cannot get those back. Fucking liar. Give me my cash back or you are a thief as well.


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Dear James, I have never seen the Oprah show.

However, I had lunch with a friend who saw you on Oprah and was reading your book and enjoying it. My mom bought it for me (I'm not a drug addict but a book addict) and I thought it very intense and felt much compassion for you and the other characters in recovery. It doesn't much matter to me if it was all true. Even if part of it is true and there was some

I can see why Oprah was pissed because she endorses books and people take her word as gospel. Yes, it would've been dharmic to not market it as non-fiction. But I say to everyone--"Read the Tao Te Ching and get over it."

Best wishes,

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Dear James, I'm with ya.

My name is Chip Harbin and I am 21 yrs. old. I am an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a criminal. I am currently taking my second shot at sobriety. I have been reading your book and I have to say, I DON'T GIVE A FUCK IF ITS TRUE OR NOT. You have helped me stay clean everyday for the past month which is the longest I have been clean in 6 years. I applaud you for attempting to reconstruct your addiction and put it into writing. I know it was hard and I know what you are going through right now is even harder but dude keep your head up and fuck anybody who tries to tell you that you what you did was wrong. I could be dead right now if I wasn't reading a book that a man wrote for people like me. The words you use in that book outline my thoughts about drugs and the Twelve Steps and treatment centers and it doesn't matter to me if you made up every sentence YOU ARE HELPING ME STAY CLEAN and for that I will be forever grateful and will stand up for you in front of God himself. I wish the best for you and I know you will triumph in the horrific situation.

Peace and Love,
Chip Harbin

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Dear Jimmy "Shitstorm" Frey, I was shocked that someones life could be more fucked up than mine.

I just knew that some of the book was fabricated. The oral surgery was bullshit I know, I lost 8 of mine in a drunken beating and almost died of misery in the MONTHS it took to drill and burn the things back to some sort of working order. Some of the relationships were a bit off as well, but I accepted them, and really liked them, they were my people, people I know, people who know me. I picked this book up when it first came out, the cover intrigued me, and I really enjoyed it. Fuck, I reccomended it to so many of my friends, especially those who were in recovery. I was inspired by the courage, the I dont give a fuck courage that it takes to pull yourself out of a hole that deep. I knew this guy, I wanted to know this guy, he survived, he was brave enough to choose a path other than the program and it worked for him, like it did for me. I wonder what the past few months have been like for you Jimmy the fratboy gone bad. I wonder if you get heckled going down the street. I hope so. And fuck your rich parents as well, they knew it was a pack of shit all along. Take the Tao, and shove it up your bloated ass, you fucking liar.

p.s. I dont want my money back for the book, I stole it(and that my friends is true) bite me Nan Talese...

CoCo Beasel
Professional Wrestler

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Dear "Big Jim", If you'd just admit it!

I am convinced that it would take only one thing for you to turn around all your negative publicity. Seriously. Just get booked on a big ol' show like Larry's or Oprah's and this time, instead of stuttering and qualifying and sounding like a dolt, just take a big, deep breath, square your shoulders and say, "Okay. Let's face it. I just wanted everyone to think I'm a bad ass. A BAD ASS!!!!!!"

That's it. That's the truth, so help you God, and then everyone would think you're really cool. Which you're not.

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Dear James, you brokedick scribbler,

I have known way too many people who were way too far gone to have much empathy for you in the midst of this fracas. Any fool can try to build himself up with self-dramatizing lies and exaggeration. You managed to defraud a lot of earnest readers and move a lot of books in the process.

Any asshole can be an addict... but you have to be a REAL asshole to lie about what an asshole addict you were. I'm sad that you aspired to more degradation than you even achieved, and I'm sad that you made a mint passing off your bullshit fantasies as FACTS.

Couldn't all the broken hearts have been avoided if you and your publisher had not called this a memoir? Indeed, some things in life are essentially true without being factual - but a lie is still a lie, and when you say something happened when it didn't? That's a lie.

James Frey, inauthentic author, you lack integrity. Yesterday, your galling stunts were such an affront to me that I would have gladly tapped you on the head with a skillet, but having written out my grievances, I feel better now.

Most sincerely,
Kelly C.

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Dear James, you're a pansy.

It is embarrassing enough that you had to call your fiction a memoir in order to get it published. Why did you have to roll over on Oprah, too? You couldn’t even defend your choices as a writer of fiction. It was like watching Principal Oprah discuss an eleven-year-old’s misbehavior with his parents. (You actually did go on national television with your Momma recently, didn’t you?) You hunched there sad sack like a child who knew he was supposed to look remorseful, but couldn’t entirely hide his confusion and resentment. Like a child counting the minutes until he could run back to the playground and pull Suzy’s pigtails again.

If you don’t think you’re a liar and you don’t think your actions need justification, then why go on TV at all? To sell more books, perhaps? But wouldn’t sincere, unqualified apology or—conversely—fierce defiance generate more sales? Your… I don’t know what else to call it… your pansy yammering served no purpose.


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Dear James, You owe me nothing!

I am a recoverying alkie & addict with 18 yrs of clean time. I've lived in the "Harbor" area of Michigan all my life. Your books renewed my reading enjoyment and fortified my resolve to stay away from the hell that was my former life. Thank you for that. Opie needs you more than you need her. Too bad she's so full of herself to admit it. True charity never involves bragging or patting yourself on the back, which seems to be her style. Sad to see that she thinks she's so important. One message I got from your writings still rings true: Anything that happens to me now will never be as bad as going back to the broken person I once was when the addiction had me on my knees. So we just get back up each time we fall. Keep on keepin' on brother........Sincerely, D.B. in St. Joseph, MI.

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Dear James, I'm good -- no need to refund.

I read “million pieces and Leonard” and I just want you to know that I am still behind you and the incredible journey you have traveled. Don’t let the dogs get you down. I have had personal experience with an addict and your book made things clearer to me and the life that an addict endures. Don’t give up on your writing and don’t give up on your ability to stay clean. I respect you and I do not begrudge your writing. Thank you thank you thank you

Missy Tapley

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Not So Dear James, I don't get it man.

If you can write fiction so well that people feel everything you read why lie about your ability? most people wish they could write so real and raw. and why did you keep going with it after you got famous? couldnt you just come clean man wtf? you're such a disapointment and now you're gonna make it hard for the rest of us to publish memoirs, they're gonna dig the shit out of everything that doesnt have "based on a true story" on it.

I just dont get it.


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Dear James, I am glad I can't read.

yeah I bet I would have loved that book and been sad if I had read it which I would of done if I could read.

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Dear James, Fuck You.

I loved your crap ass book and even bought the lame-ass sequel when it came out in fucking hardback! Now, a few lies, fibs here and there, whatever. But your entire goddamned story is fucking made up! First you piss on Twelve Steps- and then it turns out you weren't ever really a crack-head anyways! What the fuck do you know about recovery?

Secondly, why did you have to make up that tragedy with Lily? That she HUNG herself alone in a bathroom. Jesus, that wasn't very inspiring to me, because I identified with Lily, and you inconsiderate bastard killed her off- you wrote her part as if she wasn't as strong to survive as Big Tough James was. As a woman with suicidal tendencies, I find that personally offensive. I live in San Francisco, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, and I'd like to extend an invitation for you to fling your sorry sack of shit-self off of it.

You suck. Your book wasn't even well written- it's stylistic montage was really only palatable because it was supposed to be a "memoir", not a piece of patchwork fucking fiction.

Go fuck yourself. Right in the ear.
You can Eat Shit and Die.

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Dear James, It's easy when you lie!

Of course you've managed to stay off crack without a twelve-step program. It's easy when you've NEVER FUCKING SMOKED IT EVEN ONCE!

You are a fucktard of the first water.

Also, memoir is not "a new genre", as you so wussily lied on "Larry King Live". The first modern memoir, most literary critics agree, was the Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1781). And at least Rousseau really WAS a deadbeat dad and a pervert.


Someone Who Hates You

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dear James, everybody needs to calm down.

its stupid to blame an author who has lied about his autobography. everybody lies. if people are stupid enough to believe what they read its their own fault. was the book a waste of time or fun reading? this is the question one shall ask .

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Dear James, I support you.

The publishers already offered a refund and haven't you been raked through the coals enough?! I'm not jumping on Oprah's pathetic, self-serving, hypocritical bandwagon. People just can't get enough of kicking a guy when he's down. Pathetic.

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