Yes, again. Ripping off unsuspecting consumers by trying to pass off A Million Little Pieces as a memoir wasn't enough. And getting chewed out by Oprah in front of millions doesn't seem to have had much of an effect on this guy's greed and disrespect for the reading public, either. Now he wants to be the next J. K. Rowling and drag the YA genre into new depths of commercialism. In reading this article, I can't help but think that Frey seems more than a little narcissistic. His disdain for truth and integrity shines through with a blinding glare that makes anyone with a sense of right and wrong want to look away... except that his obvious pathology is so fascinating.
Basically, he had an idea for a YA story, but couldn't be bothered to write it himself. Actually writing would be too tedious an occupation for a writer of his caliber, I suppose. So he started a production company called Full Fathom Five, signed up a bunch of writers to write his books for him, and (one can only assume) sat back and laughed at the wannabe writers desperate enough to break into the world of publishing that they would agree to write a novel for $250 and not even get credit for it. Now Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, and Will Smith have already come knocking on the door; HarperCollins is publishing his movie tie-in (what else do you call a book that was edited to fall in line with the screenplay?); and Frey's ego is bigger than ever.
I am appalled. I'm sure Frey is loving all of it, since he seems to thrive on any kind of attention, good or bad. But I'm not about to accept this sort of nonsense, and I won't keep quiet about it, either. People need to know how books like I Am Number Four came to be. People need to be aware this is going on, so they can make the choice to support (or not support) these scummy business practices.
Obviously, James Frey never wanted to be a writer. He wanted to get attention and make money. There's not much we can do about the former now; that ship has sailed. But by spreading the word about what he's doing, maybe he won't be able to make quite so many millions by taking advantage of others.
For more opinions on this issue, see Stephanie's post entitled A YA Reader and Writer's Perspective on James Frey's Writing Assembly Line and Catherine's post about The Fiction Factory. Enna Isilee also weighed in with Some things are just WRONG!
You can check out the full article that inspired this blog post at New York Magazine, called "James Frey's Fiction Factory".