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A Million Little Pieces [Kindle Edition]

James Frey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)

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Book Description

James Frey wakes up on a plane, with no memory of the preceding two weeks. His face is cut and his body is covered with bruises. He has no wallet and no idea of his destination. He has abused alcohol and every drug he can lay his hands on for a decade - and he is aged only twenty-three.



What happens next is one of the most powerful and extreme stories ever told. His family takes him to a rehabilitation centre. And James Frey starts his perilous journey back to the world of the drug and alcohol-free living. His lack of self-pity is unflinching and searing.



A Million Little Pieces is a dazzling account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.



Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colourful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment centre where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonising months of detox confronting "The Fury" head:
I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want 50 bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, 500 hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.
One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a mobster, and a former championship boxer (who throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing, upon his release). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

The rage-fuelled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons, Amazon.com

Amazon Review

The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colourful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment centre where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonising months of detox confronting "The Fury" head:
I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want 50 bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, 500 hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.
One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a mobster, and a former championship boxer (who throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing, upon his release). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

The rage-fuelled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons, Amazon.com


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 536 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New Ed edition (5 Feb. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VHI8T0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fake rubbish, don't waste your money 13 Sept. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Theres nothing unique about the writing style: i found it babyish. When he confirmed on tv that some of the book was made up, i can't remember the words he used, but that did it for me. Oprah may say he great, but the book is crap, the story is boring, and all the way through i was thinking how on earth did he remember all of these points. Then i realised, he made it up.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but a bit unbeliveable 12 Nov. 2006
Format:Paperback
The book follows James Frey's time in rehab, following a priveliged childhood, a good university career, dabbling in drink and drugs and finally ending up a hopelesss addict. This leads him to his time in rehab, and his story of how he overcome that addiction.

James' point is that the 12 steps, and believing only God can cure you, is a flawed theory. He feels that only the addict can decide to get clean, in the same way that the addict decides to take the next drink/hit/whatever. He spend his early time in Rehab fighting the system, and anyone that tries to help.

I was not aware of the controversy surrounding the book when I read it, so took it at face value. However at many times the story felt unreal.

I am pretty sure most of this is seriously embellished (even more than the author now admits) - the story reads like a hollywood movie script - a fatherly mafia boss, a boxing champ, a supreme court judge and a deep, caring, loving crack addicted girlfriend are all major characters.

However the few moments when you feel that James is actually baring his soul are what makes the book. He is self obsessed, whiney, self hating and self indulgent, angry and defensive but desparate for acceptance, but he has a bitter humour which stops the book descending into a pity tale.

He obviously creates a lot of the characters and situations, but he could not have written this unless he had some experience of addiction, and his true story I expect would not have been quite as interesting.

Overall this is a great read, and a refreshing outlook on addiction rather than the usual "God saved me, Praise be!" stories. His exaggerations keep the story exciting, making it easier to suspend disbelief. If read as fiction this book is fantastic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a painfully bad read. There are so many authors out there who handle this subject with credibility and flair - this guy isn't one of them. It's boring, contrived and achingly middle-class. In my experience dug addicts are always soulful sensitive types down deep, even if all of that is perverted by their addiction. And yet the protagonist of this story is so unloveable that I can't get past the first quarter of the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars AN IRRITATING BOOK 1 Jun. 2011
Format:Paperback
Let me tell you about the good bits:

The book is a compulsive read - it takes you along at a pace - and it's enjoyable. It gives some insight into the world of drugs and drink. What is particulary appealing is the thought that this is some sort of biography of life as a drug addict going through rehab - and for this reason it draws the reader on.

Now for the bad bits:

This is not a truthful account and as soon as the penny drops one is left with a sense of being cheated.

The book is irritating: the writing style is just annoying - there are some horrible sentence constructions and the repetition of words and phrases is pointless and adds nothing to the narrative or the story. For example "The Dealers I have seen don't deal what she uses they offered me pot or meth...." Should there be some sort of punctuation there?

And in the same paragraph: "I know she is either here or she has been here. I know someone has seen her. I know. I stare. I know. I stare."

The narrator does a lot of staring in the book - he seems to be always staring at something or other. But the constant repetition is very annoying after a while. I have noticed that he does it in his other book "Bright Shiny Morning" too - so it appears to be one of his literary techniques.

(MEMO TO THE AUTHOR: drop the repetition - it's pointless and irritates the reader)

I also didn't believe in the hero of the book - James Frey himself. The narrator swaggers into the rehab centre with lots of attitude - is monosyllabic and resentful but still attracts a fan following of people who really like and love him. Goodness knows how he worked that one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a great piece iof fiction... 13 Jan. 2012
Format:Paperback
James Frey's account of addiction is honest and leaves no grimy details spared. Unlike other books of a smiliar subject I have read, Frey does not try to glamourise or sexualise addiction in any way. He tells the degrading, embarassing, frightening and demoralising truth of living as an addict. His anger, resentment, fear, volatility and self hatred are believable and reflect the truth in his journey of addiction and recovery. His writing style is that of an established author, that keeps one turning the pages. However....

... I feel this book is a heavy, weighty drop of oily truth, thoroughly diluted into a sizeable pond of fabrication. It all reads far to like a Hollywood Movie, comparable to 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest' - with rival/enemy 'Leonard' transforming into an adopted 'Father' I found this conclusion rather predictable, weightless and 'cheesey' for want of a more refined word. The same can be said for the concluding relationship with his parents. Going from grossly uncomfortable with their presence to hugging them and exchanging 'I love you's'that had never before been said. The 'fight' watched on TV towards the end of the book, where there is cheering and whooping and a suprise 'party' with lobster, and steak ordered by a once cranky, authorative 'Lincoln' for Leonards departure is once again resemblant of 'Murphy' in 'One flew over the cuckoos nest', it becomes a little unbelievable and fictitious.

Frey's writing style can be 'annoying' with the constant repetition, it is obviously used for effect, perhaps to depict his mind state, however it is a bit of a wasted technique as it doesnt have the power intended and becomes frustrating.

However, The non-acceptance of the '12 steps' 'let go and let go' mantra is refreshing and honest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I still found this an amazing description of life as a drug/alcohol...
Foreword by the author explains his part in embellishing parts of his story, so read with caution. I still found this an amazing description of life as a drug/alcohol addict and... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Duffy Clan
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyway i so enjoyed the book
I herd it was not true? not sure if I misheard that. Anyway i so enjoyed the book, true or not
Published 3 days ago by Jude
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book. Couldn't put it down.
Published 22 days ago by Ben
4.0 out of 5 stars loved this. despite the sheer bloody mindedness of the ...
loved this. despite the sheer bloody mindedness of the author to accept help, it gave a good and (i thought) realistic description of addiction
Published 28 days ago by jacqui grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A brilliant memoir and excellent condition.
Published 2 months ago by kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Loved this book. Very honest and upsetting at times.
Tip from me.... If you intend to read the follow-up book 'my friend Leonard' then don't read the update on the final page. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Gallacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
In a Good conditions
Published 2 months ago by Sattor
5.0 out of 5 stars One in a Million
I first became aware of “A Million Little Pieces” when a friend started reading it. I didn’t know what it was about at the time, but the frequency with which her face was screwed... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Iain R. Wear
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving story
This book is gripping! It's refreshing to read a true account of 'addiction' and the struggles James faced in dealing with it.... hats off! Very well written.
Published 2 months ago by t j rushmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am loving this book best thing I have read in ages
Published 2 months ago by Tracy Rice
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