James Frey bigraphy, stories - Literary

James Frey : biography

September 12, 1969 -

James Christopher Frey (born September 12, 1969) is an American writer. His books A Million Little Pieces (2003) and My Friend Leonard (2005), as well as Bright Shiny Morning (2008), were bestsellers. He was the subject of a scandal when investigators discovered that prison time and the extent of certain injuries were exaggerated in A Million Little Pieces, a purportedly autobiographical account of the author's struggle with addiction.

Lawsuit settlement

On November 2, 2007, the Associated Press published a story about a judgment in favor of readers who felt deceived by Frey's claims of A Million Little Pieces being a memoir. Although the publisher, Random House, had set aside $2.35 million for lawsuits, only 1,729 readers came forward to receive a refund for the book. The refund offer was extended to anyone who had purchased the book prior to Frey's disclosing the falsehoods therein. The total claimants' refunds issued only came to $27,348. Approximately $1.3 million will be spent in legal fees, distribution of the legal notice, and charitable donations to three charities. The publisher also agreed to provide a disclosure at the beginning of the book, citing the somewhat fictitious nature of the text.


Frey graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 1992. Before Frey began his writing career, he held several jobs in the Chicago area while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. Frey then moved to Los Angeles and found work as a screenwriter, director, and producer. In the spring of 1996, Frey started writing A Million Little Pieces, originally presented as a memoir of his experiences during his treatment for alcohol and drug addiction at a rehabilitation center in Minnesota.

Frey also wrote the screenplays to the films Kissing a Fool and Sugar: The Fall of the West. Internet Movie Database Both were produced in 1998, the latter of which he directed as well.

Doubleday published A Million Little Pieces in April 2003, and Amazon.com editors selected it as their favorite book of that year. The New Yorker praised the book as “A frenzied, electrifying description of the experience.” A Million Little Pieces became a bestseller, ultimately residing on the New York Times Best Seller List for 44 weeks, selling in excess of 4.5 million copies. In September, 2005, Oprah Winfrey chose A Million Little Pieces for her monthly book club.

In 2004, Frey wrote My Friend Leonard, which continued where A Million Little Pieces left off, and centered on the father-son relationship which Frey and his friend Leonard, from Hazelden, shared. My Friend Leonard was published in June 2005 by Riverhead, and became a bestseller. Amazon.com editors selected My Friend Leonard as their No.5 favorite book of 2005.

In 2007, Frey wrote Bright Shiny Morning, which was published in May 2008 by HarperCollins.

Frey's books have been published in thirty-one languages worldwide.

References and footnotes

Current work

In late 2007, Frey signed a new three-book, seven figure deal with Harper Collins to release his novel, Bright Shiny Morning, which was published May 13, 2008. Bright Shiny Morning appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, and has received mixed reviews. The New York Times's Janet Maslin, who had previously been one of Frey's detractors, gave the book a rave review. Michelle Green of People magazine gave the novel an extremely positive review, calling Frey a "wildly talented storyteller," commenting that the novel is "so powerful it makes one wonder why he ever detoured into nonfiction."People; May 26, 2008; Page 60. In contrast, David L. Ulin of the Los Angeles Times called the novel "One of the worst I've ever read." The New Yorker review described the novel as "banal." On August 2, 2008, the Guardian UK says "Irvine Welsh is entranced by James Frey's tale of redemption – 'the literary comeback of the decade'. James Frey is probably one of the finest and most important writers to have emerged in recent years.", Guardian UK Review, August 2008 The first epigraph states: "Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable."

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