A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey

A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition, Sept. 22, 2005)

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.

About M. Bijman

Avid reader, longtime writer of book reviews and literary analyses. Interested in literature, creativity and cognition, language and linguistics, musicology, and technology. Occasionally writes poems and bits of music.

1 comment on “A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey

  1. 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:

    “James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.” It was such an obvious, transparent, steaming heap of falsehood from the first page that I was enraged that anyone on earth would believe a word. As a former addict, I found this fake redemption memoir to be morally repugnant.”

Say something

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s