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James Frey's publisher is still mad at Oprah

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Frey_l

Frey_lJames Frey’s publisher, Nan Talese, made some provocative noise this weekend in Dallas, where she spoke out against Oprah Winfrey for flaying Frey on national television last year after parts of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, turned out to be bogus. “I’m afraid I’m unapologetic of the whole thing,” said Talese at a writers’ conference, according to the Dallas Morning News. “And the only person who should be apologetic is Oprah Winfrey.” Winfrey, Talese reportedly said, displayed “fiercely bad manners — you don’t stone someone in public, which is just what she did.”

Hmm. What do you think? I say, “Wow, it takes some guts to take on Oprah.” And “Man, I guess we won’t be seeing any more Nan Talese books picked for the Oprah Book Club anytime soon.” And, finally, I say Talese is totally right. As a big fan who read Pieces and its even-better sequel My Friend Leonard long before Oprah got around to her endorsement, I actually stood up for James Frey back during his public execution. What he did was inexcusable, and I’m sad that future readers won’t be able to come blindly to both books like I did, but nobody deserves the kind of public beat-the-dog-with-a-newspaper treatment he got on that one awful episode of Oprah. Right? And if you’re interested (i.e., not totally still fatigued by this whole thing even a year and a half later like I am), read the full Dallas Morning News piece: it contains Talese’s juicy version of what went down in the studio behind the scenes. My favorite is the Mafia talk: “It’s just business!”