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A Million Little Pieces

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A Million Little Pieces Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 readers 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 — but 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.

Review:

"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

Review:

"From the get-go, [Frey's] book sets itself a part, its narrative unspooling in short, unindented paragraphs and barely punctuated sentences whose spare, deadpan language belies the horror of what he';s describing — a meltdown dispatched in telegrams." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Gripping... A great story... You can't help but cheer his victory." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"The most lacerating tale of drug addiction since William S. Burroughs' Junky." The Boston Globe

Review:

"A brutal, beautifully written memoir." The Denver Post

Review:

"Incredible... Mesmerizing... Heart-rending." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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

Synopsis:

“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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

James Frey is originally from Cleveland. He is married and lives in New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

acbeeman, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by acbeeman)
James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces takes the reader on a journey through the author’s six week stay at a rehabilitation center. It is published as a nonfiction memoir and is intended for an audience that is interested in addiction. Although there has been great controversy surrounding this book, Frey’s use of structure and language creates a very believable and captivating story which leads me to look past any fabrication.
The validity of the plot is what has come into question following the release of the novel. The story begins with Frey on a plane with extensive damage to his face and in complete confusion. “My front four teeth are gone, I have a hole in my cheek, my nose is broken, and my eyes are swollen nearly shut” (1). His incredible addiction to alcohol lands him on his way to a rehabilitation facility in Minnesota. After getting dropped off by his parents, the novel continues with Frey’s six week stay in rehab and the daily fight against the uneven odds of remaining sober. He encounters many obstacles along with the overwhelming need to use drugs. His constant sickness concentrates most of his time at the beginning of his stay, along with reconstructive mouth surgery. He meets many people throughout his time in rehab, including Leonard, a mobster and also James’ mentor. Lilly, a broken, young girl catches Frey’s attention and sparks a romance throughout the book. However, their romance is forbidden by the center’s policies. James explains this rebellion to his parents, “There are a lot of Rules here. I try to follow most of them, but this Girl, her name is Lilly, has been good for me” (288). Frey also goes against other rules throughout the book- for example, veering away from the twelve steps. James sees self reliance as the only way to fully accomplish sobriety. The book continues with various bumps in the road including Lilly’s short lived escape from the center and a rough week with his parents in the Family Program. All in all, James’ sobriety remains true throughout the book and he leaves a free and sober man.
The controversy involving the plot of Frey’s story began when it was featured in Oprah’s Book Club in 2006. The book was featured as its original intent- a memoir. However, The Smoking Gun ran an investigation and started questioning the validity of just about everything from his convictions to the extent of his drug and alcohol abuse. James Frey admits that some facts might be slightly fabricated, but overall stands by his writing as the truth.
Aside from questioned validity, Frey’s use of language and structure paints a clear and painfully real picture of the struggles of addiction. Without looking at this book as a memoir, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Frey uses minimal punctuation throughout the story. It is basically a run on pool of words. I think this creates for a closer look inside Frey’s mind and makes the reader feel like they are experiencing the book right along with him. His style is very descriptive and although the plot’s credibility is questioned, the author does an amazing job of sucking the reader in and immersing them in the setting, the characters, and his own mind. The one plot point that was not very convincing is when Frey went to the dentist. It is not very believable that a licensed dentist would perform surgery without any sort of medical aid to dull the pain. However, the rest of the book is very believable. I dove into the book assuming it was fiction, yet became more and more convinced that it was nonfiction as the story went on due to Frey’s simple, conversational style of writing.
Overall, James Frey’s controversial book A Million Little Pieces has captivated my attention even after a massive controversy. The author’s use of language and structure create a very believable and interesting story. Even after it has been highly criticized, I still definitely recommend this book to other readers.
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haleyshanelle, April 1, 2008 (view all comments by haleyshanelle)
OMG ! this book was awesome ! , i read this bopook like 5 times ! . you never wanna take your eyes off it !
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(1 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Arboreality, July 17, 2007 (view all comments by Arboreality)
Erm. My father has done well through AA, so I have my own feelings about AA and sobriety. Reading this book made me cry when it made me identify with my father's own struggles, which I was mostly too young to actually be part of but have always had some leftover guilt for not being more involved in. Unfortunately, the final message of the book, especially given Frey's factual challenges, made me mostly angry at the author for choosing to write a "memoir" that essentially tells other addicts that AA is for the weak and ignorant, and the only way to get through addiction is to break your way through mentally. That's fine and well, but it, like AA, doesn't work for everyone, and his dismissal of AA while simultaneously telling us about how fantastically strong he was to make it through when so many others failed mostly just made me want to punch him.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400031085
Author:
Frey, James
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
General
Subject:
Substance Abuse & Addictions - General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Specific Groups - General
Publication Date:
May 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.02x5.16x.95 in. .70 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Personal Stories

A Million Little Pieces Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9781400031085 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "From the get-go, [Frey's] book sets itself a part, its narrative unspooling in short, unindented paragraphs and barely punctuated sentences whose spare, deadpan language belies the horror of what he';s describing — a meltdown dispatched in telegrams."
"Review" by , "Gripping... A great story... You can't help but cheer his victory."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The most lacerating tale of drug addiction since William S. Burroughs' Junky."
"Review" by , "A brutal, beautifully written memoir."
"Review" by , "Incredible... Mesmerizing... Heart-rending."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , “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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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