Someone left this novel in the kitchen of our office before the December break. So I took it home to read it. It is the completely au naturel stream-of-consciousness mental workings (like free form poetry) of an alcoholic drug addict before, during and after his rehab. It is mostly first person narration, present tense, lots of random capital letters, and short sentences. A typical example is:
“I walk into the Lounge and I sit down on a couch. I’m alone and I watch television and the latest batch of pills kicks in. My heartbeat slows. My hands stop shaking. My eyelids drop. My body is limp. Nothing registers.” (p. 22)
There’s a lot of that, and a lot of swearing, blood, pain, vomiting and general nihilism. Towards the end of the book, and his rehab, the sentences, like his mind, seem to hang together better and form paragraphs. If it is real (and some people have said it is a fake), if this is what is really in James Frey’s mind, I am ever so sorry for the man. Just reading this depressed, scared and nauseated me in equal measures. If you want to get put off for life from using any kind of drug, read this. It’s mighty successful aversion therapy.
Update: Some critics have questioned the genuineness of this book. Some think the author made it up, or at the very least, inflated his experiences. But one must take comments from whence they come. A memoir about drug and alcohol abuse should be judged by someone who has experience of that. In an interview of Nov. 22, 2017, in the New York Times, celebrity chef/author Anthony Bourdain commented as follows to the question “The last book that made you furious?” His answer: