A Million Little Refunds

CNN: “Under a tentative legal settlement, readers who said they were defrauded by Frey’s best-seller, “A Million Little Pieces,” can claim refunds, an agreement called unprecedented — and understandable — by a leading publishing attorney.

To receive refunds — $23.95 for the hardcover, $14.95 for paperback — consumers will have to submit a receipt or
some other proof of purchase: for the hardcover, page 163; for the paperback, the front cover. They will also need
to sign a sworn statement that they bought the book because they believed it was a memoir.”

Will we see this extend to other literary works? We, for one, felt defrauded by the The Little Prince. We thought it was a delightful children’s story but were dismayed to learn that it was a narcissistic womanizer’s thinly-veiled apologia.

(Thanks to Tave!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. AcilletaM says:

    Sadly years from now Frey will be telling people that he paid out $2.35 trillion in refunds.

  2. Spiny Norman says:

    “I really felt defrauded by “The DaVinci Code”…”

    I understand that some people were dismayed that Frey’s work was not the whole truth. How many other so called “biographical” works have been, to use a euphemism, embellished? Lie to us on Oprah!, public spank?

  3. kwd says:

    Wow what is the world coming to? You can now sue an author based on how truthful a book is? Where do I sign up?

  4. benko29 says:

    this is fucking ludicrous. sure, i read the book under the impression that it was a ‘memoir’ of his experiences. and then i found out that it was imbellished and what not. but that didn’t make the book any less enjoyable for me, nor did i feel ‘defrauded’. i still really dug the book and just brushed that news off as “whatever”. whether he went through all the stuff he writes about, word for word, or otherwise, doesnt really matter, because the idea of releasing such a book is to sell lots of copies, and he did that, didnt he?
    frivolous legal action like this sucks.

  5. Triteon says:

    I’m not sure it should have taken a lawsuit to rectify this, but I agree that action should have been taken. The book was purported to be true, when it wasn’t. That’s fraud.
    “The DaVinci Code”, while not my idea of a good read, was at least labeled as a novel. Love the comment AcilletaM!

  6. Keira says:

    I would be highly pleased if I could receive even a partial return payment for my purchase of Jonathan Franzen’s memoir The Discomfort Zone, in which the author should have embellished his own gross emotional deformities and overwrought prose, in order to create a book even slightly palatable to the reader.

  7. AcilletaM says:

    Although I don’t need a refund, I think I would have gotten more for my money is Jonathan Franzen’s book The Corrections would have came with a copy of the thesaurus he abused while writing it.

    Thank you Triteon but in the world of Frey jokes, someone made a joke a while ago and the rest of us just changed it to suit our needs and then claimed it as our own.

  8. Kishi says:

    Huh, I wonder if I could pick up a couple of used copies at the second-hand bookstore and mail ’em in.

  9. Paula says:

    I hope newspapers don’t start having to reimburse readers when they write something that’s not true. That will be the end of’em!

  10. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    While the use of legal action here is questionable, I agree that something needs to be done about content providers using cheap tricks to promote their stories. (Hey man, if it’s a good story, it’ll sell without you pretending it’s more than what it is.) It’s not like this hasn’t been going on for a while — there was the shady promotion of The Blair Witch Project that had people calling Blair County for more information, for instance. More recently you have ABC’s “docudrama” (the WORD is even deceptive there) and on the milder end, Memoirs of a Geisha, the movie of which was legit, but the book absolutely tried to look like a historical biography right up until the “Afterword”.

    What’s needed is a clear categorization system that differentiates between “pure fiction”, “pure nonfiction”, “derivative fiction” (has some factual or historical elements), and “reality fiction” (part of the art to it is that it tries to seem real). Of course this would be abused at times, but at least if it was in place and in common use, abuses would be easier to define and punish fairly.