Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

The eXile

Jerry Stratton, February 1, 2006

When I linked to Toestubber yesterday and recommended following through to John Dolan’s Finest Book Review Ever Written, I didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the site the review was on. The eXile is a fascinating place: apparently a couple of American expatriates in Moscow started an English-language newspaper there, in the style of the Rolling Stone if it were run by Hunter S. Thompson.

John Dolan reviewed Frey’s other book, too, and came to the same conclusion (with less research) that the Smoking Gun did:

“And I have this funny feeling that there is no truth in them at all. Thanks to the Net, you can check out people’s criminal records these days. And from what I’ve found in several days of looking, James Frey, who has become a millionaire celebrity by boasting about his bad-boy past, has--gasp!--no criminal record at all. Could it be true? Could this rugged survivor be no more than a trust-fund boy with a gift for woofing?”

He repeatedly compares Frey to another writer, Eddie Little. While suggesting that Frey may have used Little’s story, lightened it up and made it palatable for “pious hypocrites”, Dolan makes me want to read Little’s books. Unfortunately, unlike Frey’s, Little’s first book is out of print--despite having had a movie based on it several years ago.

Dolan is generally great fun to read. Even his review of The Lord of the Rings, which I mostly disagree with, was brilliantly funny. The only really bad spot was reading his take on Fahrenheit 9/11 which, like most sympathetic takes on the movie, never actually says anything about the movie. Even there, however, I’m almost inclined to believe that the article is a satire of such reviews, especially after comparing Dolan’s lack of concern over Moore’s deceptions with Dolan’s concern over Frey’s deceptions. (Almost inclined. Moore, like, apparently, Frey, has the ability to get otherwise intelligent people to short-circuit their bullshit detectors.)

So, take a look at eXile. Take a good look through their cover images as well.

In response to Why Frey’s fakery matters: Seth Mnookin explains why James Frey’s “embellishments” are a disservice to his readers and to recovering addicts.

  1. <- Fuck the Bullshit