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The Question Oprah Didn't Ask

01/26/2006 05:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Well, you can stick a fork in James Frey--he's done. Frey's made a lot of money from A Million Little Pieces, but after the devastating interview that just took place, would anyone trade places with him? He's living proof of how a man could gain his fortune and lose his soul.

As the show went on, Frey said less and less, but just sat on Oprah's couch looking silently miserable.

The irony is, he still isn't telling the truth. Here's what he should have said:

"You know, Oprah, I wrote this book as a novel, but nobody wanted to buy it in that form. Then Nan Talese, an editor at Doubleday, the woman sitting on the couch next to me, suggested that it be published as a memoir, because memoirs sell more copies than novels do, and that's how she bought it. Nan knew that I had presented it as fiction, and so when the change to memoir didn't seem to bother her, I went along with it. Hey, she's the expert, right? I was just happy to sell the book and make some money. I should have known better, but my ambition and greed got the better of me, and I'll regret that for the rest of my life."

But Frey, who turns out to be not such a tough guy after all, didn't have the cojones to tell that truth. Instead he sat there--completely alone, though there were four other people on the couch--while everyone else excoriated him. It made me wish that, for once, for real, James Frey would fight back.

Because some of the blame should go to Nan Talese. She took a manuscript that was presented to her as fiction (though she has since denied this, it appears to be one case where Frey really is telling the truth) and peddled it to the world as a memoir.

On Oprah, she claimed otherwise. "If [I] had any inkling of this..." she said breathily.

Well, receiving a manuscript labeled "novel" is usually a pretty good sign that something isn't true. And Oprah should have put her on the spot and said: "Nan, you claim that you had no inkling that this wasn't true. Yet James has repeatedly said that he first tried to sell you the book as a novel. Is he lying about that, or are you lying now?"

Talese also claimed that she too had a root canal without Novocaine.

Oh, bullshit.

Can you people just stop lying?