NEW YORK -- Oprah Winfrey broke her silence about James Frey's disputed memoir of addiction, ''A Million Little Pieces," dismissing allegations of falsehoods as ''much ado about nothing" and urging readers who have been inspired by the book to ''keep holding on."
''What is relevant is that he was a drug addict . . . and stepped out of that history to be the man he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves," Winfrey said last night in a surprise phone call to CNN's Larry King, who was interviewing Frey on his live television program.
Frey has been under scrutiny since The Smoking Gun, an investigative website, posted a story alleging the author had substantially fabricated his criminal record and other aspects of his past.
Winfrey's selection last fall of ''A Million Little Pieces" for her book club made the memoir a million-seller and Frey a hero among recovering addicts.
Frey, in his first interview since The Smoking Gun story came out, acknowledged he had embellished parts of the book but said that was common for memoirs and defended ''the essential truth" of ''A Million Little Pieces."
''The book is about drug addiction and alcoholism," he said. ''The emotional truth is there."
The book continues to top the bestseller list on Amazon.com. Frey's publisher, Doubleday, said yesterday that it had received a small number of calls to its customer service line about the book.