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ink-stained wretches

First Review of James Frey's ‘Bright Shiny Morning’ Out

James Frey

Photo: Getty Images

A Million Little Pieces fake-memoirist James Frey's new book opens with this disclaimer: “Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable.” Publishers Weekly editor-in-chief Sara Nelson, who reviewed Bright Shiny Morning this week, isn't sure that's good enough. The book is filled with random factoids about the city of Los Angeles, which she says "better have been fact-checked." Still, this first review disappointingly isn't a pan or a rave. "I expect, given the sharpness of the knives that some critics have out for Frey, that many will say the book flat out doesn’t work," Nelson observes, going on to list the weaknesses in what she calls "a train wreck of a novel." "Yet the guy has something: an energy, a drive, a relentlessness, maybe, that can pull readers along, past the voice, past the stock characters, past the clichés," she concedes. "It’s un-put-downable, a real page-turner — in what may come to be known as the Frey tradition." Wait, so the "Frey tradition" might end up being something other than "enraging Oprah Winfrey"? Who would have thought that was possible?

Nelson on New Frey [PW]

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