A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little Pieces

by James Frey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307276902
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/22/2005
Series: Oprah's Book Club Series
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 26,700
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

James Frey is originally from Cleveland. He is the bestselling author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. He lives in New York.

Hometown:

New York, New York

Date of Birth:

1969

Place of Birth:

Cleveland, Ohio

Read an Excerpt

I wake to the drone of an airplane engine and the feeling of something warm dripping down my chin. I lift my hand to feel my face. My front four teeth are gone, I have a hole in my cheek, my nose is broken and my eyes are swollen nearly shut. I open them and I look around and I'm in the back of a plane and there's no one near me. I look at my clothes and my clothes are covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood. I reach for the call button and I find it and I push it and I wait and thirty seconds later an Attendant arrives. How can I help you? Where am I going? You don't know? No. You're going to Chicago, Sir. How did I get here? A Doctor and two men brought you on. They say anything? They talked to the Captain, Sir. We were told to let you sleep. How long till we land? About twenty minutes. Thank you. Although I never look up, I know she smiles and feels sorry for me. She shouldn't. A short while later we touch down. I look around for anything I might have with me, but there's nothing. No ticket, no bags, no clothes, no wallet. I sit and I wait and I try to figure out what happened. Nothing comes. Once the rest of the Passengers are gone I stand and start to make my way to the door. After about five steps I sit back down. Walking is out of the question. I see my Attendant friend and I raise a hand. Are you okay? No. What's wrong? I can't really walk. If you make it to the door I can get you a chair. How far is the door? Not far. I stand. I wobble. I sit back down. I stare at the floor and take a deep breath. You'll be all right. I look up and she's smiling. Here. She holds out her hand and I take it. I stand and I lean against her and she helps me down the Aisle. We get to the door. I'll be right back. I let go of her hand and I sit down on the steel bridge of the Jetway that connects the Plane to the Gate. I'm not going anywhere. She laughs and I watch her walk away and I close my eyes. My head hurts, my mouth hurts, my eyes hurt, my hands hurt. Things without names hurt. I rub my stomach. I can feel it coming. Fast and strong and burning. No way to stop it, just close your eyes and let it ride. It comes and I recoil from the stench and the pain. There's nothing I can do. Oh my God. I open my eyes. I'm all right. Let me find a Doctor. I'll be fine. Just get me out of here. Can you stand? Yeah, I can stand. I stand and I brush myself off and I wipe my hands on the floor and I sit down in the wheelchair she has brought me. She goes around to the back of the chair and she starts pushing. Is someone here for you? I hope so. You don't know. No. What if no one's there? It's happened before, I'll find my way. We come off the Jetway and into the Gate. Before I have a chance to look around, my Mother and Father are standing in front of me. Oh Jesus. Please, Mom. Oh my God, what happened? I don't want to talk about it, Mom. Jesus Christ, Jimmy. What in Hell happened? She leans over and she tries to hug me. I push her away. Let's just get out of here, Mom. My Dad goes around to the back of the chair. I look for the Attendant but she has disappeared. Bless her. You okay, James? I stare straight ahead. No, Dad, I'm not okay. He starts pushing the chair. Do you have any bags? My Mother continues crying. No. People are staring. Do you need anything? I need to get out of here, Dad. Just get me the fuck out of here. They wheel me to their car. I climb in the backseat and I take off my shirt and I lie down. My Dad starts driving, my Mom keeps crying, I fall asleep. About four hours later I wake up. My head is clear but everything throbs. I sit forward and I look out the window. We've pulled into a Filling Station somewhere in Wisconsin. There is no snow on the ground, but I can feel the cold. My Dad opens the Driver's door and he sits down and he closes the door. I shiver. You're awake. Yeah. How are you feeling? Shitty. Your Mom's inside cleaning up and getting supplies. You need anything? A bottle of water and a couple bottles of wine and a pack of cigarettes. Seriously? Yeah. This is bad, James. I need it. You can't wait. No. This will upset your Mother. I don't care. I need it. He opens the door and he goes into the Filling Station. I lie back down and I stare at the ceiling. I can feel my heart quickening and I hold out my hand and I try to keep it straight. I hope they hurry. Twenty minutes later the bottles are gone. I sit up and I light a smoke and I take a slug of water. Mom turns around. Better? If you want to put it that way. We're going up to the Cabin. I figured. We're going to decide what to do when we get there. All right. What do you think? I don't want to think right now. You're gonna have to soon. Then I'll wait till soon comes. We head north to the Cabin. Along the way I learn that my Parents, who live in Tokyo, have been in the States for the last two weeks on business. At four a.m. they received a call from a friend of mine who was with me at a Hospital and had tracked them down in a hotel in Michigan. He told them that I had fallen face first down a Fire Escape and that he thought they should find me some help. He didn't know what I was on, but he knew there was a lot of it and he knew it was bad. They had driven to Chicago during the night. So what was it? What was what? What were you taking? I'm not sure. How can you not be sure? I don't remember. What do you remember? Bits and pieces. Like what. I don't remember. We drive on and after a few hard silent minutes, we arrive. We get out of the car and we go into the House and I take a shower because I need it. When I get out there are some fresh clothes sitting on my bed. I put them on and I go to my Parents' room. They are up drinking coffee and talking but when I come in they stop. Hi. Mom starts crying again and she looks away. Dad looks at me. Feeling better? No. You should get some sleep. I'm gonna. Good. I look at my Mom. She can't look back. I breathe. I just. I look away. I just, you know. I look away. I can't look at them. I just wanted to say thanks. For picking me up. Dad smiles. He takes my Mother by the hand and they stand and they come over to me and they give me a hug. I don't like it when they touch me so I pull away. Good night. Good night, James. We love you. I turn and I leave their Room and I close their door and I go to the Kitchen. I look through the cabinets and I find an unopened gallon bottle of whiskey. The first sip brings my stomach back up, but after that it's all right. I go to my Room and I drink and I smoke some cigarettes and I think about her. I drink and I smoke and I think about her and at a certain point blackness comes and my memory fails me. Back in the car with a headache and bad breath. We're heading north and west to Minnesota. My Father made some calls and got me into a Clinic and I don't have any other options, so I agree to spend some time there and for now I'm fine with it. It's getting colder. My face has gotten worse and it is hideously swollen. I have trouble speaking, eating, drinking, smoking. I have yet to look in a mirror. We stop in Minneapolis to see my older Brother. He moved there after getting divorced and he knows how to get to the Clinic. He sits with me in the backseat and he holds my hand and it helps because I'm scared. We pull into the Parking Lot and park the car and I finish a bottle and we get out and we start walking toward the Entrance of the Clinic. Me and my Brother and my Mother and my Father. My entire Family. Going to the Clinic. I stop and they stop with me. I stare at the Buildings. Low and long and connected. Functional. Simple. Menacing. I want to run or die or get fucked up. I want to be blind and dumb and have no heart. I want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I want to wipe my existence straight off the map. Straight off the fucking map. I take a deep breath. Let's go. We enter a small Waiting Room. A woman sits behind a desk reading a fashion magazine. She looks up. May I help you? My Father steps forward and speaks with her as my Mother and Brother and I find chairs and sit in them. I'm shaking. My hands and my feet and my lips and my chest. Shaking. For any number of reasons. Mother and Brother move next to me and they take my hands and they hold them and they can feel what is happening to me. We look at the floor and we don't speak. We wait and we hold hands and we breathe and we think. My Father finishes with the woman and he turns around and he stands in front of us. He looks happy and the woman is on the phone. He kneels down. They're gonna check you in now. All right. You're gonna be fine. This is a good place. The best place. That's what I hear. You ready? I guess so. We stand and we move toward a small Room where a man sits behind a desk with a computer. He meets us at the door.I'm sorry, but you have to leave him here. My Father nods. We'll check him in and you can call later to make sure he's all right. My Mother breaks down. He's in the right place. Don't worry. My Brother looks away. He's in the right place. I turn and they hug me. One at a time and hold tight. Squeezing and holding, I show them what I can. I turn and without a word I walk into the Room and the man shuts the door and they're gone. The man shows me a chair and returns to his desk. He smiles. Hi. Hello. How are you? How do I look? Not good. I feel worse. Your name is James. You're twenty-three. You live in North Carolina. Yeah. You're going to stay with us for a while. You okay with that? For now. Do you know anything about this Facility? No. Do you want to know anything? I don't care. He smiles, stares at me for a moment. He speaks. We are the oldest Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility in the World. We were founded in 1949 in an old house that sat on the land where these Buildings, and there are thirty-two interconnected Buildings here, sit now. We have treated over twenty thousand Patients. We have the highest success rate of any Facility in the World. At any given time, there are between two hundred and two hundred and fifty Patients spread through six Units, three of which house men and three of which house women. We believe that Patients should stay here for as long a term as they need, not something as specific as a twenty-eight day Program. Although it is expensive to come here, many of our Patients are here on scholarships that we fund and through subsidies that we support. We have an endowment of several hundred million dollars. We not only treat Patients, we are also one the leading Research and Educational Institutions in the field of Addiction Studies. You should consider yourself fortunate to be here and you should be excited to start a new chapter in your life. I stare at the man. I don't speak. He stares back at me, waiting for me to say something. There is an awkward moment. He smiles. You ready to get started? I don't smile. Sure. He gets up and I get up and we walk down a hall. He talks and I don't. The doors are always open here, so if you want to leave, you can. Substance use is not allowed and if you're caught using or possessing, you will be sent Home. You are not allowed to say anything more than hello to any women aside from Doctors, Nurses or Staff Members. If you violate this rule, you will be sent Home. There are other rules, but those are the only ones you need to know right now. We walk through a door into the Medical Wing. There are small Rooms and Doctors and Nurses and a Pharmacy. The cabinets have large steel locks. He shows me to a Room. It has a bed and a desk and a chair and a closet and a window. Everything is white. He stands at the door and I sit on the bed. A Nurse will be here in a few minutes to talk with you. Fine. You feel okay? No, I feel like shit. It'll get better. Yeah. Trust me. Yeah. The man leaves and he shuts the door and I'm alone. My feet bounce, I touch my face, I run my tongue along my gums. I'm cold and getting colder. I hear someone scream. The door opens and a Nurse walks into the Room. She wears white, all white, and she is carrying a clipboard. She sits in the chair by the desk. Hi, James. Hi. I need to ask you some questions. All right. I also need to check your blood pressure and your pulse. All right. What type of substances do you normally use? Alcohol. Every day? Yes. What time do you start drinking?

Reading Group Guide

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

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

The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion of A Million Little Pieces, James Frey's furious and inspired memoir of addiction and recovery.

1. A Million Little Pieces presents some unusual formal innovations: Instead of using quotation marks, each piece of dialogue is set off on its own line with only occasional authorial indications of who is speaking; paragraphs are not indented; sentences sometimes run together without punctuation; and many passages read more like poetry than prose. How do these innovations affect the pace of the writing? How do they contribute to the book's rawness and immediacy? How is James Frey's unconventional style appropriate for this story?

2. A Million Little Pieces is a nonfiction memoir, but does it also read like a novel? How does Frey create suspense and sustain narrative tension throughout? What major questions are raised and left unresolved until the end of the book? Is this way of writing about addiction more powerful than an objective study might be?

3. Why does the Tao Te Ching speak to James so powerfully? Why does he connect with it whereas the Bible and Twelve Steps literature leave him cold? How is this little book of ancient Chinese wisdom relevant to the issues an addict must face?

4. James is frequently torn between wanting to look into his own eyes to see himself completely and being afraid of what he might find: "I want to look beneath the surface of the pale green and see what's inside of me, what's within me, what I'm hiding. I start to look up but I turn away. I try to force myself but I can't" [p. 32]. Why can't James look himself in the eye? Why is it important that he do so? What finally enables him to see himself?

5. When his brother Bob tells James he has to get better, James replies, "I don't know what happened or how I ever ended up like this, but I did, and I've got some huge fucking problems and I don't know if they're fixable. I don't know if I'm fixable" [p. 131]. Does the book ever fully reveal the causes of James's addictions? How and why do you think he ended up "like this"?

6. Why are James and Lilly so drawn to each other? In what way is their openness with each other significant for their recovery?

7. Joanne calls James the most stubborn person she has ever met. At what moments in the book does that stubbornness reveal itself most strongly? How does being stubborn help James? How does it hurt or hinder him?

8. The counselors at the clinic insist that the Twelve Steps program is the only way addicts can stay sober. What are James's reasons for rejecting it? Are they reasons that might be applicable to others or are they only relevant to James's own personality and circumstances? Is he right in thinking that a lifetime of "sitting in Church basements listening to People whine and bitch and complain" is nothing more than "the replacement of one addiction with another" [p. 223]?

9. What are the sources of James's rage and self-hatred? How do these feelings affect his addictions? How does James use physical pain as an outlet for his fury?

10. How is Frey able to make the life of an addict so viscerally and vividly real? Which passages in the book most powerfully evoke what it's like to be an addict? Why is it important, for the overall impact of the book, that Frey accurately convey these feelings?

11. When Miles asks James for something that might help him, James thinks it's funny that a Federal Judge is asking him for advice, to which Miles replies: "We are all the same in here. Judge or Criminal, Bourbon Drinker or Crackhead" [p. 271]. How does being a recovering addict in the clinic negate social and moral differences? In what emotional and practical ways are the friendships James develops, especially with Miles and Leonard, crucial to his recovery?

12. James refuses to see himself as a victim; or to blame his parents, his genes, his environment, or even the severe physical and emotional pain he suffered as a child from untreated ear infections for his addictions and destructive behavior. He blames only himself for what has happened in his life. What cultural currents does this position swim against? How does taking full responsibility for his actions help James? How might finding someone else to blame have held him back?

13. Bret Easton Ellis, in describing A Million Little Pieces, commented, "Beneath the brutality of James Frey's painful process, there are simple gestures of kindness that will reduce even the most jaded to tears." What are some of those moments of kindness and compassion and genuine human connection that make the book so moving? Why do these moments have such emotional power?

14. In what ways does A Million Little Pieces illuminate the problem of alcohol and drug addiction in the United States today? What does Frey's intensely personal voice add to the national debate about this issue?

Interviews

A Note to the Reader

A Million Little Pieces is about my memories of my time in a drug and alcohol treatment center. As has been accurately revealed by two journalists at an Internet Web site, and subsequently acknowledged by me, during the process of writing the book, I embellished many details about my past experiences, and altered others in order to serve what I felt was the greater purpose of the book. I sincerely apologize to those readers who have been disappointed by my actions.

I first sat down to write the book in the spring of 1997. I wrote what is now the first forty pages of it. I stopped because I didn't feel ready to continue to do it, didn't think I was ready to express some of the trauma I had experienced. I started again in the fall of 2000. I had been working in the film industry and was deeply unsatisfied with what I was doing. I had wanted to write books and was writing films. I saved enough money to give myself eighteen months to write the book.

I didn't initially think of what I was writing as nonfiction or fiction, memoir or autobiography. I wanted to use my experiences to tell my story about addiction and alcoholism, about recovery, about family and friends and faith and love, about redemption and hope. I wanted to write, in the best-case scenario, a book that would change lives, would help people who were struggling, would inspire them in some way. I wanted to write a book that would detail the fight addicts and alcoholics experience in their minds and in their bodies, and detail why that fight is difficult to win. I wanted to write a book that would help the friends and family members of addicts and alcoholics understand that fight.

As I wrote, I worked primarily from memory. I also used supporting documents, such as medical records, therapists' notes, and personal journals, when I had them, and when they were relevant. I wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require. I altered events and details all the way through the book. Some of those include my role in a train accident that killed a girl from my school. While I was not, in real-life, directly involved in the accident, I was profoundly affected by it. Others involved jail time I served, which in the book is three months, but which in reality was only several hours, and certain criminal events, including an arrest in Ohio, which was embellished. There has been much discussion, and dispute, about a scene in the book involving a root-canal procedure that takes place without anesthesia. I wrote that passage from memory, and have medical records that seem to support it. My account has been questioned by the treatment facility, and they believe my memory may be flawed. In addition, names and identifying characteristics of all the treatment patients in the book and all of the facility's employees, characteristics including occupations, ages, places of residence, and places and means of death, were changed to protect the anonymity of those involved in this period in my life. This was done in the spirit of respecting every individual's anonymity, which is something we were urged to do while in treatment, and to continue to do after we left.

I made other alterations in my portrayal of myself, most of which portrayed me in ways that made me tougher and more daring and more aggressive than in reality I was, or I am. People cope with adversity in many different ways, ways that are deeply personal. I think one way people cope is by developing a skewed perception of themselves that allows them to overcome and do things they thought they couldn't do before. My mistake, and it is one I deeply regret, is writing about the person I created in my mind to help me cope, and not the person who went through the experience.

There is much debate now about the respective natures of works of memoir, Nonfiction, and fiction. That debate will likely continue for some time. I believe, and I understand others strongly disagree, that memoir allows the writer to work from memory instead of from a strict journalistic or historical standard. It is about impression and feeling, about individual recollection. This memoir is a combination of facts about my life and certain embellishments. It is a subjective truth, altered by the mind of a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Ultimately, it's a story, and one that I could not have written without having lived the life I've lived.

I never expected the book to become as successful as it has, to sell anywhere close to the number of copies it has sold. The experience has been shocking for me, incredibly humbling, and at times terrifying. Throughout this process, I have met thousands of readers, and heard from many thousands more, who were deeply affected by the book, and whose lives were changed by it. I am deeply sorry to any readers who I have disappointed and I hope these revelations will not alter their faith in the book's central message -- that drug addiction and alcoholism can be overcome, and there is always a path to redemption if you fight to find one. Thirteen years after I left treatment, I'm still on the path, and I hope, ultimately, I'll get there.

James Frey
New York
January 2006

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A Million Little Pieces 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1109 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is an inspiring book about one man's journey through a rehab clinic for addiction to alcohol since he was 10, cocaine since he was 12, and many other substances since, such as PCP, glue, acid, mushrooms, meth, and pills. A Million Little Pieces is the story of James' journey to get, and stay, sober. When 23-year-old James Frey first arrives at the treatment facility he has a hole through his cheek, his four front teeth knocked out, his nose broken and his eyes almost completely swollen shut. He woke up this way on a plane with no idea where he was going or how he had gotten there. He is covered in spit, snot, vomit, sweat, urine and blood and can barely remember anything about the past few weeks. When his parents pick him up at the Chicago airport he finally allows them to take him to Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota. As you get through the book you learn that this is not the typical bad life, bad parents situation; Frey was raised in warm, loving home by an affluent family. His family had no idea of his actions, and he did a good job hiding it from them. During the book he sometimes seems normal and sometimes the farthest thing from it. The story is captivating and gripping, the kind you can't put down. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school and above. There is language and violence, so if you have a hard time with gory or curel situations and dialogue this probably isn't the book for you. It is an honest and straightforward memoir, one of the best I've read in a long time. If you were looking for a meaningful book you'll want to read more than once, I would say check out A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.
readerinLA More than 1 year ago
I first read this book before the truth about his exagerations came out. I loved it. I read it after the truth came out and still loved it. Yes, he writes with a sense of urgency. Which I thought was brillant. He is going through rehab...of course a sense of urgency is their. And you feel that. I think any one with an open mind and interested in a original read will enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This writer has admitted that a lot og things that happened in the book, didn't. The entire dental scene is fiction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very compelling
LGSSS More than 1 year ago
James Frey writes so well that you feel like you are watching his story! I have been stopped numerous times on the subway by people telling me how much they loved his book as well. I would suggest it to anyone!
Sydweb More than 1 year ago
“A million Little Pieces “by James Frey was an all out heart pumping, and thrilling book.  Even though this book is fabricated in some areas it does share an inspirational story about a man  struggling with drugs, while going in and out of rehab. Being involved with drugs since the age of 10 this is James’ long and hard struggle to stay clean.  At the beginning of the book James finds himself on a plane.  Not completely sure where he’s going, but there’s a whole in his cheek, his nose broken, and his eyes where completely swollen shut. At the age 23 James finds himself in the Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota . As you find out that James life story isn't the typical story of a drug addict. He actually had a nice family and childhood, and an overall good upbringing. A major message that I feel this story tried to display is that he gave an honest and true perspective  on the whole situation. He gave true stories and perspective on things that happen every day.  I do enjoy how in detail the book goes; it seems as if he left nothing out.  As I was about half way through the book, doing some research I found that some of the story was fabricated and if anything that would be the one reason to not read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find the unconventional writing style nearly as inspiring as the story. I have personally read this book three times and i recomend it to all of my friends.
Linda Estape-Dupree More than 1 year ago
Although it seems the author embellished and fabricated the story, it is still worth reading.
KatieU More than 1 year ago
This book is perfectly categorized as a memoir. While I understand the negative hype that came along with the classification of this book as a memoir (as some of the incidents, as I understand, were not entirely factual), I really think that memoir is a genre that is apart from the basic fiction/non-fiction classifications. No one person ever sees things or experiences things the exact same way another person does, so it's never entirely factual for two people that were in the same situation. It's like your childhood and what you remember, versus what your parent's remember. Overall, the story moved along a quite a quick pace. I loved the unique style and the choppiness of the formatting added to the general feel that the book was trying to give you. I enjoyed the perspective and the author's ability to take you into the action of the story. His characters are really fleshed out, as well, which makes you feel a part of the story, although, as someone who has never really done things like those in the book, it was liek I was a spectator inside the story instead of an active participant in the re-hab. I did lend it to my Dad, though, and he could only get about half way through it. I don't think he liked the raw reality and honesty that came along with the story. He was a little taken aback, although he did enjoy it. It might be a little too much for some with weaker stomachs, but I highly recommend this book.
BobRM More than 1 year ago
Once you're hooked up in a book, you can't stop reading. This is how I felt when reading the book "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey. I am a very distracted person. It is very difficult for me to engage in a book, but this time it was different. The novel "A Million Little Pieces" is on of the most memorable pieces of writing I've read. When a book stays on your mind, it means that it was great. What made me love this book so much? Different aspects such as the perspective, tone, atmosphere and environment that makes such a wonderful piece. Reading and getting into James, the main character's head helps us comprehend what he is going through. The fact that this novel is based on a true story makes it more appealing. His serious tone, shows the reader how serious his story is. He deeply expresses his regrets, tragedies, feelings..etc. Without showing any shame. If I were in his shoes, I couldn't dare tell that story nor publish it. He probably had the courage to do this since he is content with the result, he is alive. Every drug and alcohol addict wants to get out of the road of incorrect choices. The novel "A Million Little Pieces" is basically about James Frey's life. He talks about his days in rehab and all those cravings for drugs and alcohol he had during his path to the total withdrawal form those addictions. One who is interested in reading about someone's path to success should read it. Seriously, this novel can show you that even if your life is going the wrong way, you can make everything go right if you try.
jtho on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
First, let me point out that I read this book 2 years after the Oprah scandal, so I read this book as a novel, though one influenced by personal account. Next: I loved this book. I can't remember another book where the narrator so completely drew me in, and the emotional rollercoaster was intense. There were about 100 pages near the beginning where I couldn't make more than 5 pages at a time without crying. Every emotion that James feels is brought incredibly realistically to the page.I won't bother to recount the plot as that is easy to find elsewhere. The other thing I'll discuss is James' style of writing. He capitalizes random words and uses a lot of run-on sentences with missing punctuation. There are also no quotation marks, so conversations have to be read through a bit slowly to keep track of who's talking when. These idiosyncrasies bothered me for the first 10 pages or so, but by then I was so engrossed in the read that I didn't even notice them anymore.Highly recommended.
DF1A_KariS on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
i was dissapointed to find out that the book was supposed to me a non-fiction book but he lied about somethings but it was very good. If you dont like graphic books i wouldnt recomend it because he goes into a lot of gory details
DJLunchlady91404 on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I loved this book. During parts of the story I actually felt the pain he was going through. It was very well written and I would recommend it to anyone interested in memoirs or drug addiction
lildrafire on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Gritty account of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Originally published as a true story, but later found out to contain lots of fiction. I wasn't impressed.
Omrythea on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
James Frey's account of his six weeks in rehab is an interesting and compelling read. However, at times it is a little tedious. Six weeks. A little tedious. Like this. Like this. Like this. This is how it is written. This. The whole book. I hope I don't start talking funny after spending two days reading it. I had mixed reactions to his book. It felt like he was so proud that he could overcome his addiction without admitting there was a God. That seemed to overpower the book and seemed more important to him that making ammends or serving as a warning to others or... I'm not sure. It is worth the read, and now I might be interested in investigating the controversy over how much of it is made up. Sad that one might have to fabricate a story to make themselves look worse so they can sell books better. I really don't have much respect for this guy and I am glad I picked up the book for only a quarter at a garage sale.
sidhene on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
2.0 out of 5 stars I could not finish this book because it was too annoying, September 7, 2008I had heard about (but not read) the Smoking Gun article before I read the book. I had also watched A Scanner Darkly (a movie based on a semi-biographical book by a former meth addict) the week before. Although I'm not a former drug addict or rehab patient, I've spent time with people who are, and the difference of the "feel of authenticity" between "Scanner" and "A Million Little Pieces" is striking.The book reads as though the author is trying to communicate immense emotion, but doesn't quite have the writing chops to pull it off. So instead, he substitutes lurid detail, and exaggerates so we'll get the point. The problem with this approach is that since the story doesn't fit the "mythological truth" of well-crafted fiction, nor the "logical pattern" of fact, an informed reader is constantly being interrupted by a nagging "that doesn't sound right" impulse. I got 80 pages into the book before deciding that I needed to look up the smoking gun article, which more or less says that James Frey made the whole thing up. I found this assertion to be the more believable. I'm not so terribly bothered by this (after all, he did get caught, and I find large-scale frauds that involve the media amusing) but I am bothered by the experience of reading.It is rare that I'll give up on a book, and I was disappointed to have to give up on this one because I had been looking forward to it. I probably also had trouble with the writing style (although I'm generally pretty adaptable, I got through Riddley Walker all right). To be fair, it is not the worst book I ever read. But I found it intensely irritating and honestly cannot understand why people like it.
ylazear on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Interesting read. This book rejects the Twelve step program and makes getting "straight" the addict's responsibility.
mzebra on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
A quick read. I enjoyed Jame's lyrical writing style. I really didn't care Oprah disowned this book , or that some parts were embellished, it was an interesting story. Some parts where to graphic for me to read, particularly the scene where he has dental work done without any painkillers. I enjoyed reading about the relationships built with the other patients and their life stories. Unfortunately I did not find the book very climatic and felt the end fall flat.
jacketscoversread on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I picked up A Million Little Pieces by James Frey after I saw Jill, a girl that sits next to me in Algebra class, reading the book after a test one day. I immediately scribbled down the title and author¿s name because the cover really sparked my interest.I had no idea that A Million Little Pieces was the book that Oprah had fallen in love with and then upon hearing it was chalk full of lies, promptly kicked it out of her book club.The controversy intrigued me even more.What I didn¿t know was how vulgar this book would be or that every page would have ¿burning vomit,¿ ¿blood,¿ and ¿chunks of stomach¿ on it.Yet, this book is fascinating and intriguing, partly because it is completely different from what I usually read. And it is also, ironically, addicting. You¿ll find yourself rooting for James, Leonard, Miles, The Bald Man, Lilly, and Matty. A Million Little Pieces is straightforward and it seriously scared me about drugs.
readingrat on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Regardless of how much of this story is true and how much of this story is fabricated, it is still a raw, terse tale of the fight against addiction.
oleiah on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I never paid attention to the hype about this book back when it was abuzz. I wanted to read this book just because it's an Oprah Book Club book. Only after I finished it did I go and read about the scandal. I thought this book was pretty good. Kind of depressing, though. I probably wouldn't read it again. Some parts were hard to believe.
hotmomma on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Didn't finish it. Had a hard time getting into it and then found out he was a fraud anyway.
jayceebee on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I support James Frey. It's a memoir, people. Get over it.
scd87 on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I enjoyed the story, but it was difficult to get past the lack of punctuation and other horrible grammatical things. And, when I read it, there was already talk about Frey having exaggerated some points, so I decided to look at it as fiction. I think that is an important thing to do if you decide to read this.
cestovatela on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Rumor has it that James Frey tried to sell A Million Little Pieces as fiction 19 times and it was rejected every one. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know I was grateful to be able to read this book. If the events of the story were exaggerated, the rendering of an addict's mind is absolutely true and so is the story of self-reliance and salvation this book tells. I was sorry to finish it.