Book: A Million Little Pieces | Author: James Frey | Started: 4/5/14 | Finished: 4/13/14 | Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis: At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his four front teeth knocked out, his nose broken, a hole through his cheek. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three, he checked into a treatment facility shortly after landing. There he was told he could either stop using or die before he reached age 24. This is Frey’s acclaimed account of his six weeks in rehab.
“I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal.”
When I first started reading this book, I had no idea about the controversy with this book. I feel like to write an honest review, I can’t not mention the controversy and my take on it. I read the Wikipedia page and some other things on it and I can tell you that I still consider this a memoir and a great one at that. I know some people don’t like that Frey lied about spending some time in jail when he didn’t, but who has told the whole truth when talking or writing a book about themselves? The controversy is why I took off half a point, otherwise it would have been an easy five stars. Now onto the actual book!
James Frey wrote this book in an interesting way an interesting way.
There were times that he repeated himself (like I did in the previous sentence). And there were few full paragraphs. What I mean by that is that a lot of the sentences started on a new line. I’m not sure why he did that, but the free prose made the book different. A good different.
He also did not put any quote marks in this book. At all. It looked a lot like this
Let’s go for a walk.
I stay on the bench.
I look up.
I don’t know if I can be seen with you in that sweatsuit.
This time of writing was confusing at times unless he specified who was talking or if was what being said was aloud or inner monologue. Once I could decipher between the two, I liked this time of writing. It’s unique and weird, a lot like this book.
James Frey may be an Alcoholic and a drug Addict and a Criminal, but he’s also a good writer. There were parts of this book that just amazed me.
The screams of the Addicted without their addictions. The screams of the dead who are somehow still alive.
I mean I pictured vampires when he said this, but that’s not too far off from some addicts that I’ve come across. His writing comes alive. His writing is real. His writing is scary. I love his writing.
I am alone. Alone here and alone in the world. Alone in my heart and alone in my mind. Along everywhere, all the time, for as long as I can remember. Alone with my family, alone with my friends, along in a Room full of people. Alone when I wake, alone through each awful day, alone when I finally meet the blackness. I am alone in my horror. Alone in my horror.
I just want to go give him a hug. It’s hard to read such sad things, especially when I know it’s so real. But it made me so happy when he finally was happy again.
I could tell when he started shifting from the Alcoholic and the drug Addict and the Criminal to a person with Feelings and Heart.
I am a Criminal and he is a Judge and I am white and he is black, but at this moment none of that matters. He is a man who needs a friend and I can be his friend.
When James really started becoming human, it was one of the happiest moments I’ve had in weeks. I knew he recovered to write this book because, well he wrote this book, but it was awesome getting to read about his recovery. The book itself was really good. It had it’s funny moments, it had it’s sad moments, and it had it’s happy moments. There were times that I wanted to just shake him and say “JAMES QUICK BEING AN IDIOT. YOU NEED TO RECOVER.” and there were other times where I wanted to shake everyone else and say “JAMES IS GOING TO RECOVER IN EVERY WAY THAT HE THINKS WILL WORK. LET HIM DO THAT.”
This book broke my heart at times. At the beginning I was sad for him because I knew that his life was far from good and he was so young and he was so ruined. When his good friends would leave the clinic, I’d pray that they would recover and stay in touch with James. When James finally found love for the first time in his life, I was so happy for him but I was also worried for him.
I’ve known people that have gone through these types of problems and I’ve heard a few different recovery stories. This one is one of my favourites. I am so happy that James recovered and has a life now. I am excited to read his second book, My Friend Leonard.
I’d talk about the other “characters” in this book, but that makes it feel like it’s not a non-fiction. The other stories of the people in this book were important, but I feel like this was all about James and his road through the clinic. I will say that I had some other people in the book that I had a liking to and it was hard letting them go without hearing their full story.
Since he wrote this book, I knew it would end happily. I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it was a great ending. I am so happy for James Frey and will keep him in my thoughts that he can keep strong.
James has never relapsed.