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Freywatch: Ladies Love Cool James

keller.jpgOprah may be supermegapissed at James Frey these days, which probably harshed her birthday buzz Sunday, but a few other women in her general age bracket have taken a more sympathetic view. Pulitzer-winning Chicago Tribune culture critic Julia Keller (left) still believes after all that’s been said and done that “the guy can write,” describing A Million Little Pieces as “a whopping good book, a book that snatches you up and deposits you summarily in hell, a book that rocks and sings and repulses and enchants.”

“Maybe so, say Frey’s fiercest critics [Keller adds]. But people didn’t buy the book for its literary delights; they bought it because they thought it was the gospel truth, plain and simple. Really? The bookstores are full of books just bursting with firm, indisputable, unassailable, irrefutable truths. Those books don’t sell the millions of copies that Frey’s did.”

pattidavis.jpgMeanwhile, Patti Davis (right) tells Newsweek web readers she knows what Frey’s going through, sort of, because she wrote a novel everybody was sure had to be real. “Very few writers hit it out of the ballpark the first time,” she says. “James Frey did. I was in awe of the book as a writer, and grateful for it as a recovered drug addict…No one could have made up what he wrote.” She’s still not convinced all this hoopla over the distortions is necessary: “I don’t care how many days Frey did or did not spend in jail. I care that he keeps writing with a heart that doesn’t hold back.”

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