‘Star Tribune’ Raised Questions About Frey’s Disputed Memoir in 2003

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By: E&P Staff

A national controversy has erupted over James Frey’s 2003 bestselling memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” after The Smoking Gun this week reported numerous whoppers in his true-life tale of crime and addiction. Frey will appear on Larry King Live Wednesday night, presumably to answer charges.

But the Star Tribune in Minneapolis today observed that this was no big surprise to them or to many locals. The paper recalled, “Similar discrepancies were pointed out in a 2003 Star Tribune story.” Frey responded then by saying, ” I’ve never denied I’ve altered small details.”

From today’s Star Tribune account:

“Twin Cities public relations executive Jon Austin said he was hardly surprised when he read about the Smoking Gun findings this week in USA Today. ‘I remembered that there were problems about the veracity of his story when the book came out,’ said Austin, a former spokesman for Northwest Airlines.’

“In July 2003, shortly after the book was published, Austin told the Star Tribune that ‘no way, no how, nowhere’ would Frey have been allowed to board a commercial jet covered in blood and vomit, with a hole in his cheek and four front teeth missing, as the author claimed in the first paragraph of ‘Pieces.’

“Joining Austin in his skepticism at the time were other Twin Cities professionals. A Minneapolis police captain said Frey’s description of the Minneapolis bus station and of a search through nearby crack houses to locate his girlfriend didn’t ring true. The president of the Minnesota Dental Association called Frey’s account of visiting a dentist near the Minnesota clinic, which he acknowledged was Hazelden, to have two root canals and four teeth capped without anesthesia ‘absolutely false.’

“At the time, Frey brushed aside questions about his book’s accuracy. ‘I wrote what was true to me,’ he told the Star Tribune. ‘If people want to pick apart the facts, they can.'”

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