I’m struggling a little bit with this I Am Number Four thing. There’s been a ton of hype, obviously, and Alex Pettyfer taking off his shirt on Ellen today has helped generate even more buzz for the movie. I actually bought the book in August, before I knew about the Full Fathom Five controversy or James Frey’s involvement in the series. I thought about returning it, but, before I could, my 13 year-old daugher picked it up.
To describe my daughter as a reluctant reader would be an understatement. A year ago September, when I signed with my agent and finally fessed up to my family that I was writing, I asked my daughter: “If I write a book, will you read it?”
Her answer: *eyeroll* “Maybe…”
She started Harry Potter and lost interest after about 20 pages. I think she only got 10 pages into Twilight before I found it wallowing under her bed. She still hasn't read Personal Demons. So…when I realized she was three chapters into I Am Number Four, I really had no choice but to let her read it.
She loved it.
Now, I feel compelled to take her to the movie, because this is the very first time she’s read a book that was made into a movie before the movie came out.
But it makes me feel like a total traitor.
Personally, I haven’t read the book because I’m having such trouble stomaching the whole thing. But, I want to give Jobie Hughes a HUGE shout out for writing a story that finally captured my 13 year-old’s attention. It breaks my heart that someone whose moral standards are as questionable as James Frey was able to use his ill gotten gains to lure someone a talented as Jobie into his money making scheme.
But that’s the way of the world, unfortunately. Paraphrasing a Wall Street Journal article, James Frey hatched up his Full Fathom Five idea after he finished reading the last Harry Potter novel in 2007. This, quoted from that article: "Someone is going to replace Harry Potter," he [Frey] recalls thinking. "Maybe it'll be me." He obviously knew he wasn’t nearly talented enough to do it on his own, so he took advantage of other far more talented writers who were just desperate enough to go along.
I get that publishing is a business. We all hope to make money, and we’d all kill to be the next J.K. Rowling (who, you’ll notice, Frey didn’t give credit to either—a pattern with the man, apparently) but not by taking advantage of others.
So, I’m going to the movie. I won’t be buying popcorn, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to keep it down.