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A Million Little Piecesby James Frey
Synopses & Reviews
Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, A Million Little Pieces is a story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.
By the time he entered a drug and alcohol treatment facility, James Frey had taken his addictions to near-deadly extremes. He had so thoroughly ravaged his body that the facility's doctors were shocked he was still alive. The ensuing torments of detoxification and withdrawal, and the never-ending urge to use chemicals, are captured with a vitality and directness that recalls the seminal eye-opening power of William Burroughs's Junky.
But A Million Little Pieces refuses to fit any mold of drug literature. Inside the clinic, James is surrounded by patients as troubled as he is — including a judge, a mobster, a one-time world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute to whom he is not allowed to speak about their friendship and advice strikes James as stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recover. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions, and insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may become — which runs directly counter to his counselors' recipes for recovery.
James has to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he has lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he holds. It is this fight, told with the charismatic energy and power of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, that is at the heart of A Million Little Pieces: the fight between one young man's will and the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion, the fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart.
A Million Little Pieces is an uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.
"A Million Little Pieces is as intense and perfectly detailed an account of a human quitting his drug and alcohol dependency as you are likely to read. And James Frey is horribly honest and funny in a young-guard Eggers and Wallace sort of way, but perhaps more contained and measured. He is unerring in his descent into a world where the characters need help in such extremely desperate ways. Read this immediately.? Gus Van Sant
"A Million Little Pieces is this generation's most comprehensive book about addiction: a heartbreaking memoir defined by its youthful tone and poetic honesty. Beneath the brutality of James Frey?s painful process of growing up, there are simple gestures of kindness that will reduce even the most jaded to tears. Very few books earn those tears — this one does. It will have you sobbing, laughing, angry, frustrated, and most importantly, hopeful. A Million Little Pieces is inspirational and essential. A remarkable performance." Bret Easton Ellis
"Our acerbic narrator conveys urgency and youthful spirit with an angry, clinical tone and some initially off-putting prose tics...that ultimately create striking accruals of verisimilitude and plausible human portraits. Startling, at times pretentious in its self-regard, but ultimately breathtaking." Kirkus Reviews
"James Frey has written the War and Peace of addiction. It lends new meaning to the word 'harrowing' and one sometimes shudders to read it. But deep down, beneath all the layers and the masks, there lives something unconquerable in Frey's hurt spirit...And the writing, the writing, the writing." Pat Conroy
"One of the most compelling books of the year... Incredibly bold... Somehow accomplishes what three decades' worth of cheesy public service announcements and after-school specials have failed to do: depict hard-core drug addiction as the self-inflicted apocalypse that it is." The New York Post
"Frey has devised a rolling, pulsating style that really moves... undeniably striking.... A fierce and honorable work that refuses to glamorize [the] author's addiction or his thorny personality.... A book that makes other recovery memoirs look, well, a little pussy-ass." Salon
"Frey proffers a book that is deeply flawed, too long, a trial of even the most naive reader's credulousness — yet its posturings hit a nerve....The prose is repetitive to the point of being exasperating, but the story, with its forays into the consciousness of an addict, is correspondingly difficult to put down." Publishers Weekly
"Again and again, the book delivers recollections that leave the reader winded and unsteady. James Frey's staggering recovery memoir could well be seen as the final word on the topic." San Francisco Chronicle
"Gripping... A great story... You can't help but cheer his victory." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Insistent as it is demanding.... A story that cuts to the nerve of addiction by clank-clank-clanking through the skull of the addicted... A critical milestone in modern literature." Orlando Weekly
"Incredible... Mesmerizing... Heart-rending." Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A brutal, beautifully written memoir." The Denver Post
"The most lacerating tale of drug addiction since William S. Burroughs' Junky." The Boston Globe
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.
“The most lacerating tale of drug addiction since William S. Burroughs’ Junky.” —The Boston Globe
“Again and again, the book delivers recollections that leave the reader winded and unsteady. James Frey’s staggering recovery memoir could well be seen as the final word on the topic.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A brutal, beautifully written memoir.”—The Denver Post
“Gripping . . . A great story . . . You can’t help but cheer his victory.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
About the Author
From the Author -
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I spent most of my childhood in Ohio and Michigan, and I have also lived in Boston, Wrightsville Beach NC, Sao Paulo Brazil, London, Paris, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I graduated from high school in 1988 and received further education at Denison University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1993, I was sent to the Hazelden Foundation for the treatment of cocaine addiction and alcoholism. I moved to Chicago in 1994, where I worked variety of jobs, including doorman, stockboy, and member of a janitorial crew. In 1996, I moved to Los Angeles where I worked as a screenwriter, director and producer. In 2000, I took second mortgage on my house, and spent a year writing A Million Little Pieces. It was published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in May of 2003 and became a New York Times Bestseller, a #1 National Bestseller, and an International Bestseller. It was also named The Best Book of 2003 by Amazon.com. In 2004, I wrote My Friend Leonard, which is a sequel to A Million Little Pieces. In June of 2005, Riverhead Books published My Friend Leonard, which also became a New York Times and International Bestseller. I live in New York with my wife, daughter, and two dogs.
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