Is James Frey’s “My Friend Leonard,” the sequel to his discredited “A Million Little Pieces,” fact or fiction? In an author’s note to the paperback edition, which has just come out, Frey says it’s some of both.
“To call this book pure nonfiction would be inaccurate,” the author writes. “It is a combination of fact and fiction, real and imagined events.”
Frey has acknowledged that major sections of “A Million Little Pieces,” his million-selling memoir of addiction and recovery that Oprah Winfrey endorsed, then ridiculed, were fabricated. Some of the revelations, first reported by the investigative Web site The Smoking Gun, also raised doubts about “My Friend Leonard.”
Frey now acknowledges that “significant” parts of “My Friend Leonard,” a best-selling story about his friendship with a gangster, were also invented.
In “A Million Little Pieces,” Frey writes of a three-month jail term that he later acknowledged never serving. “My Friend Leonard” begins with the author behind bars, getting hit in the head by a “three hundred pound man named Porterhouse.”
“I did not spend ninety days in jail, and Porterhouse is a fictional character,” he writes. “Many of the other characters’ names and identifying characteristics have been altered or fictionalized, as have major events in their lives.”
“My Friend Leonard” was published last year by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA that has reportedly dropped the author.