I wonder if James Frey’s new novel might be an act of oblique revenge on Oprah Winfrey and those others who keelhauled him for mendacity in his memoir of drink and drug addiction, A Million Little Pieces (2003). The idea that a book’s value is diminished if it contains details that are untrue has a dangerous corollary: if you value a book you will want to believe that it contains nothing but the literal truth. Hence the widespread view among Bible-reading Americans that the Earth is only 5,000 years old.
Such views come in for scornful comment from Ben, the hero of this novel. He is the sort of chap who would be happier if, like the later editions of Frey’s memoirs, the Bible and all key religious texts carried disclaimers