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A Million Little Pieces

by James Frey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Million Little Pieces (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,749230796 (3.48)139
A searing and controversial story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation, told with the charismatic energy of Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the revelatory power of Burroughs' Junky. By the time James Frey enters a drug and alcohol treatment facility, he has so thoroughly ravaged his body that the doctors are shocked he is still alive. Inside the clinic, he is surrounded by patients as troubled as he: a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute. To James, their friendship and advice seem stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recove. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions. He insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may becomewhich he feels runs counter to his counselor's recipes for recovery. He must fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart. And he must battle the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion. An uncommon accounting of a life destroyed and reconstructed, and a provocative alternative understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery, A Million Little Pieces marks the debut of a bold and talented literary voice.… (more)
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» See also 139 mentions

English (223)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
If you ever wanted to know and understand exactly what a hardcore drug addict or a severe alcoholic feels like as he becomes sober, then read this book. The author writes a play by play, in first person, present tense, the self deprecating struggles in his own mind as his body painfully withdraws and comes to grips with a sober life inside a clinic.

Addicts are told they are born with a gene, that when activated by alcohol or drugs, takes over...a gene that is not yet known. It is a disease and not the fault of the abuser. I'm not so sure I believe this is a disease as it is more of the drugs, alcohol, or even excessive food or a sex addict, altering a personality and it becoming a habit or addiction. Everyone I've ever met has some kind of internal problems they are dealing with, big or small. It's all in the way each person is able to handle it. So far, the only thing they say they find that defeats that addiction, and only temporarily at best, are AA meetings and the 12 step program....a continuous effort, and a Higher Power...even at that, there is only about a 15% success rate.

James thought all of that was bullshit, and he refused to believe he was born with this gene. He accepted the responsibility as his own. The choice was his to say yes or no with that first drink, or with trying that first drug. He did believe, as I also believe, that how a person handles stress, or how insecure a person may feel about themselves, can determine if a person will drink responsibly and know when to stop, or if they will look for harder stuff to mask their insecurities. He never listened to the daily lectures. He called their step-by-step program bullshit, especially when Lilly, the girl in the clinic he had fallen in love with, ran out of the clinic to a crackhouse and they didn't bother to help her until he, himself, ran out after her to find her and bring her back. Of course, he would have never even had a chance to become sober had he not entered the clinic, but the clinic appeared to be set up to only following their rules written out on paper instead of trying to identify each persons weakness and maybe straying from their formula at times to help someone. James had to find strength from within himself.

His brother had given him a book while in the clinic that seemed to help him mentally above all else: Tao Te Ching by Laozi. It gives Chinese wisdom on practical everyday life, which he gave little synopsis' throughout the book. James cherished that book.

At the end, he lets you know the outcome of the people he got to know inside the clinic. Only three stayed sober and two were still living...he is one of them. His best friend, Leonard, who the clinic advisors warned to stay away from because he was a bad influence, saved him with good, strong advise. Leonard also never relapsed, but he died of AIDS. The judge, Miles, who helped lesson James' sentence from 3-8 years to a 3-6 month sentence in county jail and several years probation, also stayed sober. All the others had been killed or incarcerated in state prisons afterwards.

Unfortunately, I gave this only a 3-star...average read...because it was so monotonous reading and living inside this author's head, rehashing his every anger, desires, and feelings over and over and over again. But, anyone dealing with these issues will surely connect to what the author is writing and feeling. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
I really can't see the whole fuss about how much of this story was embellished. This book was great, and was inspirational. If it helped a lot of people, I think that matters more.

Great read, as is its sequel, My Friend Leonard, although this one takes the cake between the two. ( )
  Acilladon | Jul 30, 2023 |
Even if greatly exaggerated, still a very good read... ( )
  Mcdede | Jul 19, 2023 |
didn't live up to the hype for me ( )
  Andy5185 | Jul 9, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Freyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flavin, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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 afraid 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)

A searing and controversial story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation, told with the charismatic energy of Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the revelatory power of Burroughs' Junky. By the time James Frey enters a drug and alcohol treatment facility, he has so thoroughly ravaged his body that the doctors are shocked he is still alive. Inside the clinic, he is surrounded by patients as troubled as he: a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute. To James, their friendship and advice seem stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recove. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions. He insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may becomewhich he feels runs counter to his counselor's recipes for recovery. He must fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart. And he must battle the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion. An uncommon accounting of a life destroyed and reconstructed, and a provocative alternative understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery, A Million Little Pieces marks the debut of a bold and talented literary voice.

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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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