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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.
"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
"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
"Thoroughly engrossing... Hard-bitten existentialism bristles on every page... Frey's prose is muscular and tough, ideal for conveying extreme physical anguish and steely determination." Entertainment Weekly
"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
"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
"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
About the Author
JAMES FREY is thirty-two years old. He is originally from Cleveland, but he has lived in six countries and ten states. He used to write movies, but now writes books. He has also worked as a skateboard salesmen, a camp counselor, a picture-framer, a bouncer at a bar, a film director, a film producer, a busboy, a hotel security-guard and as both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny at a major department store. He is married, and he and his wife Maya live in New York City with their two dogs. He has been sober for nine years.
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