Courtesy of CTV NEWS
U.S. author James Frey is under fire once again for his embellished memoirs of drug-addicted exploits. Just days after Oprah Winfrey berated Frey on international television for trying to pass off fiction as fact in A Million Little Pieces, a Montreal man revealed he is planning his own revenge — in a Quebec Superior Court.
Joshua Adam Levy sought permission Wednesday to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Quebec readers who feel duped by what they see as Frey’s literary fraud.
Levy is suing Frey, publisher Random House Inc., and its Canadian arm, Random House of Canada Ltd., for marketing the book as non-fiction.
The Montreal man is demanding $2 million so readers like him can be reimbursed.
The paperback edition of A Million Little Pieces now retails for as low as $12.60.
Levy’s lawyer, Jeff Orenstein, said his client would never have sued if the book had been labelled as fiction in the first place.
“It’s about being honest about what you’re selling,” Orenstein told the Montreal Gazette Wednesday.
“It’s not like going to a movie, not liking a movie and wanting your money back. In general, I have a problem with a company and an individual making millions of dollars … under false pretences.”
Orenstein said said Levy felt deceived and has lost confidence in the memoir genre.
Since a U.S. website exposed Frey’s fabrications in January, readers in Ohio and New York have sued, making similar allegations.
Frey has admitted embellishing his experiences as a drug addict, which include assaulting an Ohio police officer with his car, inciting a riot, driving drunk and spending three months in prison.
Winfrey — who previously endorsed A Million Little Pieces by naming it to Oprah’s Book Club — later had Frey on her talk show to chastise him for conning readers.
Frey was dumped by his agent soon after the appearance. Plans to make his story into a Hollywood film have also been trashed.
Random House of Canada would not comment while the case is before the courts, the Gazette reported.
Recently printed copies of A Million Little Pieces include a note to the reader from Frey saying: “I embellished many details about my past experiences and altered others in order to serve what I felt was the greater literary purpose of the book. I sincerely apologize to those readers who have been disappointed by my actions.”
The bestseller lists, however, still classify the book as “non-fiction.”