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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

A Million Little Pieces (edition 2005)

by James Frey

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7,668196440 (3.49)113
Title:A Million Little Pieces
Authors:James Frey
Info:Anchor (2005), Edition: 1, Paperback, 448 pages
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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey


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I think everyone should read this book one time in their life. It educates people about the disease addiction, which i think people do not take seriously. I can tell you from personal experiences that it is very real. This book lets you live in the mind of a recovering addict for a few months while he deals with the devastation that he has caused ever since he started down this path (circa the age of 10). It gives you hope that addicts can get better. It also gives you insight about what addicts go through, because i for one do not understand how they cant just stop and i think that that is a common thought that plagues society. Addicts are not accepted properly, and they are portrayed as week because they cannot put down the bottle. This book takes all of those ideas and shoots them to the ground and frankly makes you feel guilty for thinking them in the first place. I loved this book. I cried at so many points, but that isn't why i loved it. I loved that the author used a candid tone throughout the whole book and shared the good the bad and the ugly with the readers. ( )
  Mollyb123456 | Jan 22, 2015 |
Hard to get into at first but once I did... I couldn't put it down. Some parts were really difficult to swallow. Overall I really enjoyed the book, even if some of it was untruthful. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
A bookclub read, this is either a relentlessly gruelling and honest account of the horrors of addiction, or a self-indulgent, repetitive, nasty and dull monologue about vomiting, hallucinating and wondering whether suicide is the better option.

I found nothing to like here: it starts with Frey semi-conscious and amnesiac, spitting, swearing and sulking, with no redeeming features on offer even after he starts to clean up. The supporting characters are no more appealing, thinly drawn and disinteresting (perhaps in part because the narrator is holding himself aloof), unable to engage my sympathy or curiosity.

As if very little happening (at length) to a dislikeable man weren't enough, Frey chooses to capitalize random Nouns and eschews use of standard punctuation (especially for speech). The resulting Hodge Podge of inconsistent capitals and no syntactical crutches makes for a subpar stream of consciousness that hurt to read. The Evening Standard's assertion on the cover that "this is brilliantly written, and if you disagree you can fuck off" was frankly red rag to my enraged bull.

This may (or may not - see Google for debate on whether this novel is as autobiographical as it claims) be a searingly honest account of one man's struggle back from the brink. If so, good for him. I hope he's fully recovered and making up to friends and family for being an asshat. It may be an accurate portrayal of the horror of recovery. But it's not escapist or entertaining, and (as I'm not an addict, and don't plan to become one) it's not educational.

There was a tiny chance in a million that I'd find this interesting, touching, even inspiring. Instead, I quit halfway through rather than work up a truly interminable rant to vent at bookclub. Sorry bookclub. ( )
1 vote imyril | Aug 12, 2014 |
I know this book turned out to have a lot of lies in it but it doesn't matter to me because I absolutely loved the read! Yes, he should probably should have put it as fiction but even though he didn't I still read another one of his books, My Friend Leonard and also loved that one just as much! Highly recommend this book to anyone! ( )
  diananagy | Jul 1, 2014 |
Certainly dramatic. I remember enjoying it years ago when I read it for the first time, but I don't remember much. ( )
  marthaearly | Jun 6, 2014 |
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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.


There's nothing you can do.
It can't be fixed.
It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces.
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:21 -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)

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Average: (3.49)
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1 114
1.5 15
2 224
2.5 31
3 497
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