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'Million Little Pieces' Author Defends Book on TV

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And now an update on a story that we brought you on Tuesday. It's the story of James Frey, the author whose best-selling memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," turned out to contain some stunning inaccuracies. The book, about the author's tough life and drug addiction, skyrocketed up the best-seller list when it was selected for Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, but several key facts and incidents in the memoir turned out to be greatly embellished, as was pointed out by the Web site The Smoking Gun. Well, until last night, the author, James Frey, had not answered his critics directly, but on CNN's "Larry King Live" he had this to say.

(Soundbite of "Larry King Live")

Mr. JAMES FREY ("A Million Little Pieces"): I don't think it's necessarily appropriate to say I've conned anyone. You know, the book is 432 pages long. The total page count of disputed events is 18, which is less than 5 percent of the total book. You know, that falls comfortably within the realm of what's appropriate for a memoir.

SIEGEL: During the broadcast, Oprah Winfrey called in and she defended James Frey.

(Soundbite of "Larry King Live")

Ms. OPRAH WINFREY ("The Oprah Winfrey Show"): Whether or not the car's wheels rolled up on to the sidewalk or whether he hit the police officer or didn't hit the police officer is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is that he was a drug addict, and out of that, stepped out of that history to be the man that he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves. That's what's important about this book.

SIEGEL: That's Oprah Winfrey who called in to CNN's "Larry King Live" last night to defend James Frey and his book, "A Million Little Pieces." Frey told Larry King that he will never write about himself again.

MICHELE NORRIS (Host): Next, after a fire burns down the famous Pilgrim Baptist Church, we remember the Chicago landmark where gospel got its start. That's coming up on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.