avoiding Oprah's wrath

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Feb 02, 2006

Author James Frey is in big trouble, because some-- no, actually quite a few-- of the incidents he describes in his best-selling memoir A Million Little Pieces are not actually true. Frey's best effort at an explanation is that the fabricated details make for a more interesting story.

They probably do. If he had just called his book a novel, Frey wouldn't have faced the righteous indignation of Oprah Winfrey and others. The trouble is: He said the book was non-fiction.

We're all clear on that issue, I trust? You can't say it's fact, and then write fiction.

But what if you write a work of fiction, but claim in your introduction that it's really factual-- even though, in reality, it's purely a product of your imagination? What would you call that?

You'd call it The DaVinci Code.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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