Liar, Liar?

updated 01/23/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/23/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

Why did Oprah choose James Frey's 2003 memoir, A Million Little Pieces, about his journey from addict criminal to sober good guy, for her book club in September? Because, she said, it was “raw and so real.” Oops. On Jan. 9 editor William Bastone reported digging up a trail of legal documents indicating that key details in Pieces—notably Frey's alleged crack-fueled run-in with an Ohio police officer in 1992—are “wholly fabricated or wildly embellished.” Frey, he adds, admitted to him that he “embellished for obvious dramatic reasons.” Pieces was the No. 2 bestseller of 2005. The author, 36, who lives in Manhattan, declined to comment, saying on his Web site, “I stand by my book.”

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