January 16, 2006
Memoir as Consumer Fraud
Posted by Christine Hurt

If only we could sue politicians this easily.  As Ted Frank at Overlawyered predicted, a class-action lawsuit has now been filed against the author and publisher of A Million Little Pieces under a consumer fraud cause of action.  Tip:  WSJ Blog.  As a buyer of the book, I guess I can wait for the notice so I can opt in or out for my $6 coupon for a new Random House book.  (That's my prediction, anyway.)

Having read the book with the benefit of hindsight, I'm kind of surprised that the book was that inspiring to anyone, including Oprah.  I can't imagine a true story in which a 23-year-old crack addict comes off looking so well.  From the moment James arrives at rehab, he always says the right thing, he's always right about everyone's character, he is caring to the most unsavory individuals at rehab, and he takes full responsibility for his actions.  He runs away from rehab to rescue his girlfriend, who has been kicked out four hours earlier, finds her at a crack house in about 10 minutes with his remarkable street savvy, and snatches her from the literal clutches of prostitution.  He brings her back to the rehab to the now-familiar strains of the rehab counselors:  You were right, James.  We were wrong.  Most importantly, he convinces the veteran counselors at the country's most successful rehab center that AA is junk and that he will conquer his ten year addiction through self-control and a pocket guide to Taoism.  The real plaintiff here should be Alcoholics Anonymous, for defamation.

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