Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Review: A Million Little Pieces

By James Frey
Published by Anchor
Release date May 11, 2004
Genre: Fiction / Memoirs

The Story: (from James Frey's memoir of drug addition and recovery was a bestseller even before Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club in 2005, but the subsequent revelations about discrepancies between the story and the author's real life touched off a national debate about the line between fact and fiction. Filled with graphic scenes of epic substance abuse and the torments of withdrawal, A Million Little Pieces was widely heralded upon its publication as a harrowing, self-lacerating, and courageously confessional autobiography. It received many admiring critical reviews, carried cover endorsements from noted literati, and was selected by Barnes & Noble as a 2003 Discover pick. (Our reviewer called Frey prodigiously talented, poetic, and unflinchingly honest). In January 2006, the author acknowledged the truth of charges that many details in the book were embellished or fabricated. In a note to readers that was prepared for subsequent printings, he apologized to those who felt they had been misled and explained why he wrote the book the way he did. Reactions to these revelations included soul-searching by publishers about their responsibilities for ensuring accuracy, ruminations by critics on the line between fact and fiction in modern culture, and spirited defenses of the author by readers who maintained that the book's inspirational message was of primary importance. One thing seems certain: A Million Little Pieces is a book that promises to have a long-lasting impact.

My Review: OK. I know there was a lot of controversy about this book being a non fiction verse fiction due to his "elaborating" his story to make a good read. I picked up this book with the full knowledge of this. I didn't even try to decide what was real or what was not, I just assumed it would be best to read as if none of it was true.So my review is based on this book being 100% fiction.

The writing style was very choppy and unique but in this case, I think it was called for. This story was about addiction and the want, need, have to have feelings behind addiction. I found that the book needed that type of style to show how desperate the author wanted you to know he felt. A portion of a passage reads on page 158 (I left off the foul language):

Can't stop.
Have to stop.
Can't Stop.Pain.
Take it.

Some people, I am sure will have a problem following along with this type of writing style, with no paragraph indentations or skipping lines Et but I think it was necessary to prove the meaning behind the addiction.It is trying to portray the mixed emotions that are swirling through his head during his recovery.

I enjoyed the book. I found it very moving, it was sad, it rang some truth, but at some times seemed a bit unbelievable. The ending has a list of some of the main characters and what happened to them after rehab. I found that gave the book great closure. I have to give the book a 4 ratings because it was marketed as something it wasn't (a memoir) and is at times unbelievable in circumstances.


She said...

I enjoyed A Million Little Pieces. I feel his follow-up book, My Friend Leonard, is a better read. I found that if I could not understand what he was saying when I read it, reading it out loud worked very well. There are times when the story became like staccato in music. Those are the times I had to read aloud then it made sense.

Cindy said...

I really enjoyed this book too. I read it when it first came out, before the truth was uncovered, but I still loved it. Great review!

Amy said...
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Amy said...

I completely agree that at times thw story became like song, or I was picturing more poetry. I enjoyed the book but I think I am glad I read it after finding out it was part fiction because parts of it seemed unbelievable to me.