Frey with Me
An advance excerpt from James Frey's latest "memoir"
of the great things about being in the media is that sometimes you
get free copies of stuff before mere mortals are allowed to. I remember
that it was only a matter of days after my first published story
in a college newspaper that I emailed every record label I liked
and asked them to send me things for review. It’s a great way to
build up your CD collection, and if you never review the album no
one really cares or comes after you. I have recently outgrown music
and all of its infantile trappings. My new thing is books. Me loves
Knopf Publishing just sent us a copy of James
Frey’s next novel, Yours Truly. I can’t put it down. It is
just so well-written and inspiring. He doesn’t waste time with stupid
shit like quotation marks or speech tags or use any of those tired
literary devices like foreshadowing, symbolism, climax, syntax,
Cinemax, etc. He just tells like it is, painfully honest and in
your face like the horrible stench at the end of the 290 in North
Tonawanda. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book when it comes
out! - Chris Riordan
I stroll onto the stage underneath the harsh
glare of bright studio lights. I can tell the audience can see me,
but I can’t see them. It’s the Oprah Winfrey show, and here I am,
a recovered drug addict, sharing the spotlight with Oprah herself.
How did I get here?
It all happened so fast . Sometimes I feel like
my head is spinning. Just three years ago I was told by emergency
room doctors that I had to quit abusing drugs or I would die. Now
here I am, a best-selling author with critical acclaim being welcomed
back to the Oprah show to talk about how I have influenced the lives
of so many addicts in a positive way.
Oprah was a big part of my success. After she picked
my book for her fans to all read, sales of my first memoir A
Million Little Pieces went through the roof. I owe the world
to her. She is black. I have many black friends. To me, they are
just people like everyone else.
I owe Oprah so much, yet here she was thanking me
for what I have done.
You are an inspiration to us all, James.
Thank you Oprah, if I can just reach one person
and help them, I feel like I have done my job.
James, the fiercely honest recounting of your story
has moved many to tears. Was it hard to dig that deep into the ugly
part of your condition and be absolutely truthful about it?
Yes, Oprah, it was hard. But I knew that if I wasn’t
brutally honest about everything from the glue-sniffing to my black
hit man friend, people wouldn’t benefit from the book as much. I
cried every time I sat down to write, but with some determination
and desire to help others, I managed to tell the whole shocking
At this point, the crowd roars with clapping hands.
It is almost deafening. Like a loud noise in a quiet place. I start
to cry. These are tears of happiness, though.
I notice out of the corner of my eye a man with
a patch over his eye entering the studio. He has a colorful bird
perched on his left shoulder and one of his legs appears to be made
of wood. He is wearing a big hat with a skull and crossbones Jolly
Roger on it.
Oprah starts talking again.
You were on Larry King the other night and got a
lot of call-ins from people whose lives you saved.
Did you like that?
The man with the patch over his eye is now walking
up the middle aisle. He stops and looks up at the ceiling, which
is about 30 feet above us.
Argh! Come down and settle this once and for all,
A flash of movement and suddenly a man in a black
coverall with a mask showing only his slanted eyes drops from the
Time to settle this once for all, indeed! Prepare
to meet your maker, Pirate!
I’ll make you walk the plank! Pirates are way tougher
than Ninjas. Argh! Shiver me Timbers! Salty Dog! Booty! Blimey!
Not in this lifetime, Cajun!
In a flash of an eye, their swords clash together
and make a loud noise like metal hitting metal.
I’m unnerved. As the fight rages, I look at the
I look at the floor.
At the floor.
The audience is frantic, scrambling. I step into
a stream of fleeing women and, pointing the spread fingers of my
hand, set five of them on fire telekinetically. I reach into the
flames to rifle through their purses. They all want to have Sex
In one pocket, I find an iPod, a packet of Dentyne
Ice and the owners’ severed hand fused by the heat. Elvis Costello’s
“Chewing Gum” is playing on the iPod. I stick one charred headphone
in my ear and force the gum-hand-iPod into my pocket.
Just then, One Woman lifts her combusting head to
ask me for an autograph. I sign my name in her brain telepathically.
Her head, overwhelmed, explodes in a shower of Godiva chocolate.
Oprah, eating the chocolate, tells me again how wonderful I am.
I have grown weary of the battle and the fighters.
I levitate them for a moment. The ninja becomes a squirrel. The
pirate, a boat and pair of skis. Oprah becomes an Olympic-sized
swimming pool. The boat descends, trailing the squirrel and pulls
him in circuits around the water.
Just then I notice Another Woman On Fire has collapsed
upright in a chair. She has them. Them. I pull the platform shoes
off of her feet and stir the boiling goldfish in the heels back
We can go, now, boys.
I stride away, several inches taller, and halt—a
Pregnant Woman has fallen and pleads for my help. I reach out my
hand and her fetus is sucked into my palm. I place the bloody child
on her chest to suckle, but it begins to sing, with its mother,
“Pur ti miro” from L’incoronazione di Poppea.
I head outside to the elevators and, gnawing on
the umbilical cord, ask the Guard if this if this is the portal
to Xaqxqcx Ibe at the 6,000,009th interstice.
Jesus, what the hell is that?
I look down and see I’ve unwittingly dragged the
fetus, still singing, along with me. I attempt to teleport him back
to his mother, but momentarily distracted by a cell phone, I send
him instead to the Country Music Awards and he wins the first Country-Classical
Crossover Artist Award.
I repeat my query to the Doorman. He shakes his
head, blubbering. I go to board the portal and await transmigration.
I have to beat up 82 Cops to get there.
It’s all true.
I’m not gay.
To read more, make sure to buy a copy of Yours
Truly when it hits stores. Available March 2006 from Knopf Publishing.