Because They Never Love You More Than When You’ve Fallen Down

James Frey’s latest book Bright Shiny Morning gets a rave in the New York Times.

Wait until they find out that this novel is actually a memoir.

More seriously, if Frey has come out of this whole experience as a better writer and a less grasping opportunist, well, then, good for him. Nice to see people have a learning curve.

That said, I could probably say something here about the irony of a writer who has screwed up so badly as Frey still getting lots of ink while other writers of similar or better quality who plug along not lying about their text toil in obscurity. But in fact it’s not irony, it’s just superior marketing.

Update, 5/13: The LA Times is rather less enthused: “Bright Shiny Morning is an execrable novel, a literary train wreck without even the good grace to be entertaining.”

12 thoughts on “Because They Never Love You More Than When You’ve Fallen Down

  1. Which is MORE Stupid….

    The reviewer

    OR

    The Writer ah… typest.

    Again ya can’t fix stupid….

    I thought this was a work of fiction NOW YOU TELL ME IT’S A MEMORY…..and he’s going to do WHAT next…

    all I can say is….

    See above…

  2. Weird. I popped onto Amazon, and they are calling this Frey’s first novel.

    I thought that Frey’s first two books were novels mischaracterized by his publisher (according to Frey) as memoirs, so if the books are not memoirs, what are they? They must be novels, surely? Which would mean that this is Frey’s third novel. It’s only his first novel if the first two were not novels.

    The world of book publishing and James Frey is passing strange.

  3. The reviewer it seems. She likes to write. Write in fragments. She writes choppy. She thinks. She thinks it makes her look smart.

    It doesn’t.

  4. It’s only his first novel if the first two were not novels

    I was under the impression that his first two books were auto-biographical….they were just auto-biographical and FILLED WITH LIES. So they weren’t novels, per se. That they’re full of fictional details doesn’t get them reclassified as a novel, I’d guess.

  5. Literature. The last refuge. Of the pseudo-intellectual. Snobbery wayward grammar profligate stereotype.

    Even the lack of humility has its place here.

    Novelists who have nothing to write about (like Cormac McCarthy who won one of the higest awards for a “novel” that read more like a ninth graders unfinished book review outline) decide to write the same thing other writers write about but couch their well-worn tales in overly complex and run on sentences (that never really need to be run on but are because they think it makes them literate) and hoi polloi rave because who wants to be left out at the next cocktail party when a deal is to be made.

    They could, if indeed they were good enough, fabricate the story that could elevate, finally, man beyond the distasteful habit of praising that which has no meaning as being genius simply because no one wants to admit the Emperor has no clothes.

    And that is how they would save us all.

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