[W]e’re adolescent when it comes to art. We’ve almost entirely disenfranchised art in our public schools, in our homes, in our culture at large. Of course we’re going to stomp our feet and scream when we’re suddenly thrown a curveball after emotionally opening ourselves up to something and then learning that that thing isn’t exactly what it seems. And of course that’s going to feel like a betrayal, because we don’t have enough deep experiences with art to know that that is what art is for: to break us open, to make us raw, to destabilize our understanding of ourselves and of our world so that we can experience both anew, with fresh eyes, and with therefore the possibility of recognizing something that we had not recognized before. Art is supposed to change us, to challenge us, and yes, even to trick us. What [James] Frey’s audience was responding to so vehemently was the sensation of having had a genuine experience with art. And they freaked out. And they tarred and feathered a guy for having given them an experience they felt unprepared for. But whose fault was that?

John D’Agata, in John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, The Lifespan of a Fact