Whether or not you like Oprah is not really the issue. Her bookclub is a powerful marketing tool and, as an individual, she is a powerful, public persona. The fact that she continues to support a writer who has engaged in unethical behavior is disappointing and tarnishes her by association. If you agree, send a polite e-mail saying so and explaining why.
OK, if you don't know the background to this:
- James Frey wrote a book A Million Little Pieces
- Oprah chooses it for her book club (don't know how long this link will be good)
- Smoking Gun reports the 'memoir' is highly fictionalized (I'm being nice - read their report)
- Oprah refuses to retract her support of this book and the author. (Even Random House is offering a refund on the book, for goodness sake - although only if you bought it at the publisher's site.)
Here's what I think urks writers about this: A writers job is to be honest. If it's fiction, sell it as fiction. If it's highly fictionalized but based in reality, say so. I still consider myself a wannabe writer so I don't want anyone to think I'm arrogant enough to think I'm speaking for all of them, but I've been hanging out with writers for about a year now (albeit virtually) and I think I have a good idea about what they're thinking. If you want to read some posts that writers have made about the whole deal there's a thread on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum all about this.
Another thing that makes me think I'm right about what writers might feel about this issue is I'm listening to Stephen King's On Writing (I got the audio book for my iPod (thank you Sweetie!!), unabridged, read by Mr. King - it is soooooooooo !w00t!!1! kewl to hear him read his own work.)
He says over and over that a writer is to tell the truth, even if they are writing fiction - be truthful about the thoughts, feelings, dialog. I'm sure if he were writing about non-fiction he'd say be truthful about how you tell the truth - don't embellish to make it more interesting. And - just a little "IMO", talk about honest writing, the stuff King lays out for the world to know about him is pretty intense.
Well, nuff said about the whole Frey thing.
You only have a few more days to celebrate De Lurking Week - are you commenting? I hope so.
And a big W00T too Sthrnwriter, Joanne, and Kira whose MondayMeme responses I found via the technorati tag.
dawno, Frey, awmondaymemes,
De Lurking Week