January 29, 2003

move over dave eggers, james frey, with his tattoo that reads F.T.B.S.I.T.T.T.D. (for "fuck the bullshit, its time to throw down"), is the new you, according to this joe hagen piece in the new york observer.

a few excerpts:

"The Eggers book pissed me off," said Mr. Frey, referring to the best-selling and critically beloved A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, published in 2000. He was sitting in a black leather Eames chair in his 1,800-square-foot Tribeca loft on a recent afternoon, dressed in a pale blue T-shirt and green medical scrub pants. "Because a book that I thought was mediocre was being hailed as the best book written by the best writer of my generation," he said. "Fuck that. And fuck him and fuck anybody that says that. I don't give a fuck what they think of me. I'm going to try to write the best book of my generation and I'm going to try to be the best writer."

Mr. Frey (pronounced "fry") wasn't drunk when he said all this. In fact, he's a recovering crackhead, glue-sniffer, gas-huffer and alcoholic whose forthcoming memoir begins with the writer having fallen, well, flat on his fucking face-in this case, off a fire escape. After a two-week crack bender (the culmination of a three-year addiction), Mr. Frey is scraped off the pavement by some friends and sent by plane to his clueless parents, who then deliver the ravaged carcass of their son to the famous Minnesota rehab clinic, Hazelden. Thus begins A Million Little Pieces, the gripping raw story of a then 23-year-old Mr. Frey, who cobbles his life back together while angrily rejecting the 12-step program in favor of his own style of Taoism.

Mr. Frey attended Denison University in Ohio, where he dealt drugs, and did some heroic partying while majoring in English and film.

"He didn't get into Harvard, so he said, 'Fuck Yale'-even though he got in there-'I'm going to go have some fucking fun,'" said Mark Hyatt, a former college friend and Mr. Frey's onetime business partner in a production company in Los Angeles. The way Mr. Frey partied, said Mr. Hyatt, "he made everybody else look like they were Christian Scientists."

His book will be published in April.


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