Frey's lie started unraveling in 2006. By late 2007, after a major controversy that included a lawsuit, refunds, and a public shaming / free massive boost to his notoriety from Oprah, Frey had already signed a seven-figure deal with a new publisher. The saga sent Frey, and America, the stern message that it's okay to be a talentless liar as long as you get famous enough first. We even got a Million Little Pieces movie this year, because 2018 is the year irony stopped giving a shit.
When Frey wasn't busy being overpaid to write more garbage, he was manufacturing a soulless young adult franchise. I Am Number Four, a movie you may vaguely remember flopping, was based on the first of seven novels pumped out by a fiction factory he created. Frey was accused of exploiting MFA students, offering them a mere $250, a portion of unspecified future profits they had no way of auditing, and the threat of a lawsuit if they told someone they worked on the book. His treatment of writers was called "brutal" and "unusually restrictive," and the series was conceived from the start with an eye for movie deals and product placement rather than being, you know, good. Profiles of the process make Frey come across as a domineering asshole.
Everything that is known about Frey suggests that he wants to be famous for the sake of being famous. That's all well and good if you run a hit YouTube channel about dogs headbutting you in the crotch, but Frey also wants to be considered brilliant. That's a dangerous combination. In interviews and speeches, he makes lofty proclamations about how he wants to make literary history and change the world, how he never should have apologized for lying because there's no such thing as truth, how the only great writers are dead white men, and how he'll one day rank among them. He's a tedious bore who thinks he's an edgy rebel, an empty charlatan who thinks he's an underappreciated artist despite accruing more money and fame than most artists ever will. And that brings us back to memoir-cum-white-god-novel Katerina, and why it's 2018's greatest sin against the English language.