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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
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A Million Little Pieces (edition 2003)

by James Frey

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7,920202414 (3.49)117
Member:lit_chick
Title:A Million Little Pieces
Authors:James Frey
Info:Nan A. Talese (2003), Hardcover, 383 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:autobiography, alcoholism, addiction, recovery, Oprah's Book Club

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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

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English (199)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (201)
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
This book really touched me. A true story and very descriptive account by James Frey about how it is to battle alcoholism and drug abuse. He does not make any excuses, does not believe in God or the easy explanation that it is a disease. No it is a choice. As close as you can get to understanding the problems of alcoholism and drug abuse. Also the other individual stories of judge Miles, criminal Leonard and everything Lilly experienced in her life cannot leave you unmoved. I was surprised to learn that he is also the author of I Am Number Four. ( )
  Ingstje | Jan 18, 2016 |
I read this before the sh*t hit the fan and I liked it. I did believe that it was true, and I was fascinated by that. So, had I read it after I learned it was "enhanced", I may have given it less stars, but I am telling you how it was at the time I read it. ( )
  ER1116 | Jan 13, 2016 |
Yeah, Oprah called him out on being a liar, but this book is still very well written and gets into the nitty gritty of what extreme addiction can do to a man in such a short time. ( )
  arpentec | Nov 27, 2015 |
Read easy and fast. Riveting but couldn't help thinking of the fame of this book for being fabricated while reading. ( )
  amineaitkaci | Nov 26, 2015 |
this was at least twice as long as it needed to be, and not just because of the overused repetition. i thought, whether fiction or memoir, that there is a worthy story in here, but i didn't really read it in this book. i wish i did because there is some interesting and maybe important stuff about being so stuck on a certain method of treatment that you can't see something else working for someone, or about how a god centered approach just isn't going to work for everyone since we don't all believe in god. but i didn't like the way this was written enough that the style took away from the book and message (so did his arrogance, but mostly it was his style). this was written in a vaguely experimental way, but by someone who - he tells us this in the book - doesn't think rules apply to him. so he's writing to break the rules just because that's "who he is," but it turns out that to break the rules and write a good book requires knowing some stuff about writing. this just came across as pretentious, annoying, and not good writing. and arrogant. so arrogant.

my main problem with the book, though, is that - and i'm not talking about the "controversy" here - it doesn't read as true. parts of it do, but lots of it feel so false. probably the false parts are the real ones, and the sections that seem real are the made up ones, but it reads uneven and the language doesn't even seem real. i just never felt like his writing was really honest, in contrast to the memoir i'd just finished, the chronology of water. it felt much more like he was just saying "look at me, look at me" and his purpose was just that, not to tell the story behind it. just to tell how far he'd fallen and so how far he'd come back, how strong he was to do it the way he did; it was about him, not a larger story.

as to how much of it was made up - certainly memories aren't reliable and memoirs are, in my opinion, always some part fiction. it sounds like maybe his was more fiction than would normally be acceptable, but that is really irrelevant to me and my review. although i did find these quotes funny in light of all of this:

"It tells the truth, and as awful as it can be, the truth is what matters. It is what I should be remembered by, if I am remembered at all. Remember the truth. It is all that matters."

"...is not in any way, shape or form related to its truth, and that is all that matters, the truth. That this man is standing in front of me and everyone else in this room lying to us is heresy. The truth is all that matters. This is fucking heresy." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Jun 7, 2015 |
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Epigraph
The Young Man came to the Old Man seeking counsel.
I broke something, Old Man.
How badly is it broken?
It's in a million little pieces.
I'm afarid I can't help you.

Why?

There's nothing you can do.
Why?
It can't be fixed.
Why?
It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces.
Dedication
First words
I wake to the drone of an airplane engine and the feeling of something warm dripping down my chin.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
James Frey wakes up on a plane, with no memory of the preceding two weeks. His face is cut and his body is covered with bruises. He has no wallet and no idea of his destination. He has abused alcohol and every drug he can lay his hands on for a decade -- and he is aged only twenty-three. What happens next is one of the most powerful and extreme stories ever told. His family takes him to a rehabilitation centre. And James Frey starts his perilous journey back to the world of the drug and alcohol-free living. His lack of self-pity is unflinching and searing. A Million Little Pieces is a dazzling account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307276902, Paperback)

Book Description
At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his front teeth knocked out and his nose broken. 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.

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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.

The rage-fueled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:22 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A memoir of drug and alcohol abuse and the rehabilitation experience examines addiction and recovery through the eyes of a man who had taken his addictions to deadly extremes, describing the battle to confront the consequences of his life.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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