This Probably Shouldn’t Bother Me, But…
Sometimes I’m better off not knowing things. Yesterday I didn’t know that James Frey was making a comeback. Today, I know. And it ticks me off. There are a bunch of reasons that James Frey’s comeback rubs me the wrong way, and this puts me in an odd position because I usually like comebacks.
James Frey was vilified by readers for lying (or conducting extreme exaggerating) in his memoir A Million Little Pieces. I didn’t see the big deal about that at the time. I figured everybody lied in their memoirs anyway. I guess Oprah Winfrey didn’t know that people lie in their memoirs because she vilified him on her show. I wonder if Oprah has ever lied in her memoirs or her magazine or her television show(s). I’m not asking for evidence. I don’t care that much. I just wonder, and then I move on.
I don’t have a problem with an author lying in his memoir. It’s tough to get published. If you need to lie in your book to get published, then lie, and then stand by your act of lying. If I had to do everything over again, I would have started this blog by pretending to be a hot chick with lots of cleavage. Hot chicks with cleavage have some disadvantages in life, but they get attention, way more attention than boring guys who can’t reveal much information about themselves. So when I started this blog, I should have been a hot chick, and I should have written books while pretending to be a hot chick. But if I ever wrote a successful book while pretending to be a hot chick, I’d know not to go on Oprah. That would be stupid.
Anyway, I’m a little bothered about James Frey making a comeback, but it’s not just because he’s James Frey.
1. He’s writing YA fiction.
James Frey’s book (memoir or fiction, I don’t care) A Million Little Pieces dealt with a bunch of stuff that would be deemed inappropriate for YA readers. It would probably be banned from a lot of school libraries. Now James Frey is writing YA fiction. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have the right to do it. I just wonder what compels an author to go from adult-themed stuff like A Million Little Pieces to YA fiction. If you’re making the transition from adult-themed, fake memoir to YA fiction, at least give it 20 years.
2. It’s a 12 book series.
If there’s anything YA fiction doesn’t need, it’s another series. Most YA has become unreadable in the last five years because authors are churning out books faster than editors can (or want to) revise them. This new series by James Frey is three novels and nine digital stories/books/novellas. Plus, there are set to be movies, Youtube videos, and the usual social media stuff.
If adults want to read a series, that’s their business, but these Endgame books are geared toward kids who (for the most part) will be spending their parents’ money. A 12 book series for kids is obnoxious (even if most of the stories are digital). As an adult, I will not read a 12 book series anymore. I’ll rarely even read trilogies anymore. Luckily, neither of my daughters will have any interest in this James Frey endeavor, but I’m not out of the woods. We have other cash cow issues, like American Girl and Monster High. I’m not sure which is worse, but I’m sure (and I hope) that no Monster High authors have written anything like A Million Little Pieces.
3. It has the word “Game” in the title.
“Game” has become overused in book/series titles. We have Game of Thrones, Ender’s Game, Hunger Games, and now James Frey presents us with… Endgame. The cynical part of me has a bunch of snide comments about Endgame and its apparent lack of originality, but people don’t like my snide side, so I’ll keep those comments to myself. I’m just … (shaking my head)… disappointed.
To make things worse, readers supposedly can win a prize if they solve a bunch of puzzles. The first one is hidden in the cover of the first book The Calling. The cover was just released a few days ago, and that’s how I accidentally found out about it. There is a clue hidden in the cover, but I haven’t looked at the cover too closely. I was too busy reading about this whole Endgame stuff and getting (unnecessarily) bothered.
I don’t think I’m going to win the prize.
The idea of an interactive 12 (or 3 + 9) book series with the word “Game” in the title put together by a guy who wrote an adult-themed, fake memoir and said it was true… this whole project bothers me in a lot of ways, and I was better off not knowing about it.
This Endgame series probably shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I wish I didn’t know about it. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t stop it. I’m not going to start an online petition or a boycott because I’m not that kind of guy. I’ll just try to ignore it. If my daughters ever hear about it, they’ll call it stupid. In that regard, I’m lucky. Maybe I’m part of the problem by writing about it, but I don’t think so. I’m not exactly providing free publicity, since people who read Dysfunctional Literacy probably want nothing to do with Endgame.
Maybe I’m wrong. Are you at all interested in Endgame? Do you like interactive fiction? Do you like 12 book series? If you like 12 book series, do you trust an idea to become a 12 book series before one book from the series has even been published? Should a guy who wrote A Million Little Pieces write YA fiction? Has most YA fiction become completely unreadable lately? Am I wrong to be bothered by this, even a little bit? Do you have something that shouldn’t bother you but does? I could probably come up with a million little questions, but this paragraph is getting too long.