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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 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.
"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
"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
"Gripping... A great story... You can't help but cheer his victory." Los Angeles Times Book 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
"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
"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
"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 memoir of drug and alcohol abuse and the rehabilitation experience examines addiction and recovery through the eyes of a man who had taken his addictions to deadly extremes, describing the battle to confront the consequences of his life.
At the age of twenty-three, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his four front teeth had been knocked out. His nose was broken and there was a hole through his cheek. He had no idea where the plane was headed or what had happened over the preceding two weeks. He had been an alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three. When he checked into a treatment facility shortly thereafter, he was told he could either stop using or die before he reached twenty-four.
A Million Little Pieces is Frey's acclaimed account of his six weeks in rehab; fiercely honest and deeply affecting, it is one of the most graphic and immediate books ever to be written about addiction and recovery.
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.
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 ofkindness 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
About the Author
James Frey is originally from Cleveland. He is married and lives in New York.
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