And no one seems to care about Frey's disclaimer that "nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable," either. When a real city is named, along with real people and events within that city, it seems some readers expect accuracy. A list of the errors found by one blogger:

  • "In 1873, the city's first newspaper, the Los Angeles Daily Herald, opens." — Can't be true because there were two other newspapers publishing in the 1850s.
  • In 1895 all of the incorporated banks in LA County are robbed at least once - The author of a book about one LA bank, plus a search of the LA Times Historical Newspaper Index, indicate this is false.
  • The city instituted water metering in 1895 - The city did not own its own water supply at the time, and a private water company did not start metering until 1904.
  • Frey said LA had 14,000 people in 1865. In fact, it was about one-third that.

See? Unlike any other novelists, James Frey got historical minutiae wrong! Probably on purpose, just so he could sensationally claim that the LA didn't have a newspaper until 1873 and move the date of water metering forward nine years. He has not changed one bit. Scandal!


(Related: The LA Times hated on Bright Shiny Morning for a far better reason — it's a boring, poorly written and shallow (not just inaccurate) caricature of Los Angeles.)

[Observer, Ghost World]