It isn't every day Oprah Winfrey rips her guests a new one. But when she does, you don't forget it.
Yet James Frey, the author who admitted fabricating parts of his so-called memoir, A Million Little Pieces, and was therefore called out by the talk show host on The Oprah Winfrey Show in January 2006, was back for a years-in-the-making postmortem on Monday's show.
And yes, it was hard to watch.
Describing his first sit-down with Winfrey as a "personal car crash" and a "public stoning," Frey recalled his cab ride home from LaGuardia Airport after returning from Chicago.
"I wasn't sure what I was feeling. Shock, I was definitely stunned, I just wanted to get home…It was definitely a very difficult couple of weeks, the sun was setting over New York…I just started laughing. I don't really know why I laughed, but I laughed pretty hard."
He never cried over the experience, though, Frey said. "I mostly thought to myself, 'How did I arrive at this place? How did I get here?...This is not who I wanted to be.'"
Frey said that he was angry, confused, embarrassed, sad and a bunch of other feelings he couldn't put into words after the interview, which was pitched to him as a being part of a greater discussion on "Truth in America."
Instead, Winfrey pounced, and got him to admit he had made up many of the book's purportedly nonfiction anecdotes about the author's drug habit.
Frey said that he also showed up that day because he felt he owed it to Winfrey, who had chosen A Million Little Pieces for her book club in September 2005.
"Even if I knew I was going to be as bad as it was, I think I still would have come," he said, adding that he doesn't actually feel like a victim of a "public stoning," even though that's how many observers described it as that afterward.
"Whatever happened on that show, and with A Million Little Pieces, happened because of me," he said, "because I made some bad choices."