Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review; A Million Little Peices

Authorà James Frey

Release Dateà September 22st 2005

Reviewà 3/5

The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment center where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonizing months of detox confronting "The Fury" head on:

I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.

One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a former championship boxer, and a mobster (who, upon his release, throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.


This is a book with a big buzz! As many people know, thanks to our good friend Oprah, James Frey is known around the world as a fraud. He claimed that A Million Little Pieces was a true story of his fight with drug and alcohol addiction, when the truth came out that certain events, said to have had happened, were a little more fictional that an autobiographical novel should be he and he was shunned on international TV. The verdict? EVEN MORE FAME FOR MR. FREY! I must confess this was why I read this book! I like reading books with a big buzz and breaking with the general census, cheering for the underdog if you will. If you allow yourself not to get caught up in the fact that some events are fabricated, and read this book for the same reasons you read any other book, its an o-k read. The writing was endearing, and heart breaking. I do believe I shed a few tears for Lily and James. In the end, it doesn’t matter if Mr. Frey created some characters or fudged some details, when its all said and done he is still a recovering addict with a true story. One that is memorable in its own right.


Well, it’s no happy read. This is not a chick-lit novel, this is not a romance novel, there will be no paranormal action in this book, this is a depressing, real book. I don’t usually pick up books that will make me upset, I read to be HAPPY, however I broke the mold with this one. In the end I was happy I read it, but getting to the end was tough. There are so many sad turns of events in this book. Also, one thing to be aware of which is hard to get use to, there are no quotations in this book marking speech, instead this is signaled by a new sentence.

This for example, is how its done.

Odd eh?

All in all, this is a rough read, but worth it in the end. I recommend this to anyone who came stomach a gritty novel.

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