Oprah is a very powerful woman. So powerful that it seems whatever product she so much as whispers flies off the shelves. Most authors and publishers probably salivate over the idea of their book being mentioned on the show.
That being said, my current combination of books I’m reading – Beautiful Boy and Freedom – is a funny dichotomy on Oprah-ness. On the one hand, there’s David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy, a memoir about his son Nic’s drug addiction. Oprah had him and Nic, who wrote his own book called Tweak, on the show back in April of 2008. They discussed addiction and their respective books, which I’m sure received a healthy sales boost from the appearance.
On the other hand, there’s Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. Way back in 2001, Oprah chose Franzen’s book The Corrections for her book club. However, while out on tour for the book, Franzen made some slightly upsetting comments about the selection. He said he felt “uncomfortable” with being a book club pick and didn’t like the idea of a “corporate logo” on his cover. Well you don’t mess with Oprah and get away with it, and she dropped his book from the show. His loss, I’m sure, though he went on to win the National Book Award so I’m guessing he’s not losing sleep over it.
Meanwhile, my mom once convinced me to apply to be on Oprah for a college makeover episode based on the claim that I didn’t know how to dress for the winter. I wasn’t chosen, but I think that gives you a little insight into my mom’s feelings on Oprah. So something tells me she wouldn’t be sympathetic to Franzen’s stance.