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A Million Little Lies

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James Pinocchio wakes up in the back of a New York City taxi with a combination lock piercing his left ear and no idea how it got there, or what the combination is.

The following day, his wealthy parents decide they've had enough, and they send him off to Sleepy Hollow, the famous rehab facility in Upstate New York. While there, Mr. Pinocchio meets all sorts of Fascinating Characters, one more Unbelievable and Amazing than the next, and they challenge him to confront his ...

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James Pinocchio wakes up in the back of a New York City taxi with a combination lock piercing his left ear and no idea how it got there, or what the combination is.

The following day, his wealthy parents decide they've had enough, and they send him off to Sleepy Hollow, the famous rehab facility in Upstate New York. While there, Mr. Pinocchio meets all sorts of Fascinating Characters, one more Unbelievable and Amazing than the next, and they challenge him to confront his Deepest, Darkest Fears. The experience leads Mr. Pinocchio to the very edges of despair, but at a critical juncture he finds hope in the arms of a Bad Woman.

The love affair ends tragically, alas, and, like many parts of Mr. Pinocchio's story, stretches credibility to the breaking point, but the harrowing adventure — which involves a great deal of pain, a smattering of dirty sex, and endless amounts of girlish crying — eventually leads to Redemption and Healing. But not for Mr. Pinocchio

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061171468
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 984,384
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Read an Excerpt

A Million Little Lies

By James Pinocchio

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 James Pinocchio
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061171468

Chapter One

I am crying.


Cry cry crying.

Like. A little. Girl.

We are at The Facility, at Sleepy Hollow, New York. It is a sprawling compound for people like me, People Who Drink Too Much Pinot Noir and Dance Dance Dance. Always the Dancing. I drink Pinot Noir. I Dance. I am Garbage.

We are checking in, and we have just been ushered into the white-white office of Lorraine R., one of the in-house psychiatrists. She is forty and attractive in a forty-year-old kind of way, which isn't really all that attractive, come to think of it, especially in our youth-obsessed culture, but I sense there is more to her than meets the eye. I wonder if I detect a slight Viennese accent, and whether her real name is Brunhilde, but it's possible that this is just a figment of my overactive imagination.

You've come to the right place, Lorraine says.

I laugh. I have a big, honking laugh that sounds like the bark of a seal. Or is it a sea lion? I can never get that straight. (Imagine Steve Carell doing that laugh. Or Will Ferrell, if he still has a career.)

Do you find this amusing? Lorraine asks me, but she does it with a tenderness that seems maternal, though not exactly maternal, as will become obvious at a later juncture in the story.

No, I say. I just laugh when I'm nervous.

You have nothing to be nervous about, Jimmy. If you behave. We have a lot of rules here, and the one big rule is, No Dancing. If you don't dance, and you follow the other rules, of which there are many -- didn't I just say that? -- you will be fine.

She tells me to say goodbye to my parents, and to my brother, Geppetto, which I do. I do not hug my parents. I can hardly stand touching them. My brother punches me on the shoulder, playfully, like guys do. It doesn't hurt, but I feel like crying anyway. Maybe you can figure out why. Maybe I have more depth than I'm letting on.

After they are gone, Lorraine asks me all sorts of questions.

Do you like to drink?


What do you drink?

Pinot Noirs, mostly. But I won't say no to a good Cab. It's got to be a real monster, though. There's nothing worse than a bad Cab.

Do you drink all the time?

Only when I'm conscious.

Are you in pain?

Only when I breathe.

She takes my blood pressure. The cuff feels tight, but Lorraine keeps pumping the little black bulb, making it even tighter. The sound the pump makes is like a woman on the verge of an orgasm, or what I think a woman on the verge of an orgasm sounds like, because I personally have never heard that sound. I've seen it, though, in porn movies, but I've got a feeling that some of those girls are faking.

Afterward, some big Black Guy in White comes by and shows me to my room. I am tired, but he tells me I have to take a shower, and I don't want to break The Rules. As I strip, I can hear Gloria Gaynor in my head, singing "I Will Survive." I love that song.

The water is hot. Burning hot. It scalds my skin. I guess I could simply reach over and adjust the temperature by, say, adding a little cold water to the mix, but that wouldn't make for good drama. So I take my punishment like a man. Like. A. Man.

The combination lock is still dangling from my left earlobe, and it hurts like a motherfucker. I wonder whether Lorraine noticed it, and, if she didn't, whether she's a good psychologist or psychiatrist or whatever. Then again, maybe she noticed it and didn't want to say anything. Maybe she is both maternal and tactful. That is a good combination. That makes me think of the combination lock again, and in some ways I am thankful. I realize that whoever plunged that thing through my lobe could have done worse. Much worse. I've heard stories. I've lived stories. I've made stories up.

When I get out of the shower, I think I see a shadow, but I'm not sure. Then I think I see bugs crawling up the wall, and I think the walls are breathing, expanding and contracting, closing in on me, but that's too Lost Weekend, so I ignore it.

I cross to the mirror, with a towel hanging loosely at my waist, like a hula skirt. The mirror is fogged up and I am glad because I don't want to see my face. I don't want to look into my own eyes for the simple yet heart-tugging reason that I haven't had the courage to look into my own eyes in many years. I do not want to see The Real Me. The Real Me is a coward. And a liar. But I have my good points, too. My prose, for example. And the way I use "and" repeatedly in very long sentences to create the illusion of breathlessness.

Aaargh! Here come the bugs! I am lost. Here come the Black Men in White, with their Big Fucking Syringes.

Afterward, I wake up and hurl and find my way to The Lounge. I guess I'm early, because I'm alone, and I take a few moments to review my Life of Privilege. (Caps mine.)

Who am I?

What happened to my hopes and dreams?

When did everything begin to go wrong?

Wait. I am all over the place. Let's focus: Are there three or four key elements in my young, privileged life that shaped me and defined me, and do any of them have the Weight of Tragedy?

Before I can begin to answer these rudimentary questions, men start wandering in. They notice me, or half-notice me, until one of them totally notices me.


Excerpted from A Million Little Lies by James Pinocchio Copyright ©2006 by James Pinocchio. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2007

    Good for the funny bone

    if you've read a million little pieces and have a decent sense of humor, you'll be tickled by this book, which is quality parody--better than i expected. i gave it three stars because i did, however, bore of it in the middle (you can only last so long reading james frey's borderline annoying angst multiplied times 1000 with pointlessness--even if it is hilarious--added in) and ended up only skimming through the rest, once in a while stopping on a random page to laugh. still, from the supposed 'acclaim' on the first page and back of the book to the author's acknowledgments, it had me chortling aloud in the bookstore (these turned out to be my favorite part of the book).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

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    Posted January 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

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