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A Million Little Pieces Paperback – 10 May 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New Ed edition (10 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561023
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

When he entered a residential treatment centre at the age of twenty-three, James Frey had destroyed his body and his mind almost beyond repair. He faced a stark choice: accept that he wasn’t going to see twenty-four or step into the fallout of his smoking wreck of a life and take drastic action. Surrounded by patients as troubled as he, Frey had to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he had lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he has. A Million Little Pieces is an uncommon account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed.

Review

Excellent ... Frey's storytelling feels compulsive, involuntary ... poignant and tragic. The forthcoming film will almost certainly be a cult hit ... The good thing about Frey is that he writes as if he needs to; I hope his new compulsion thrives (William Leith, Spectator)

James Frey's utterly mesmerising account ... [is] easily the most remarkable non-fiction book about drugs and drug taking since Hunter S Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ... As a memoir, it is almost mythic. You can imagine it made epic by Martin Scorsese, the auteur of wayward American maleness in all its extremity ... Utterly compulsive (Observer)

Frey really can write. Brilliantly. And if you don't think so, f*** you (Evening Standard)

Clear sighted and intellectually honest (Literary Review)

A heartbreaking memoir ... inspirational and essential (Bret Easton Ellis)

This book is definitely going to be huge ... There is no question that he's a good writer. As soon as you start reading the book, Frey's voice rings out. It's clear and sharp and turbocharged ... We love rehab memoirs. This is a good one. It might even be a great one (Independent)

An extraordinary and deeply moving book that will make you think about family, friendship, love, religion, death and perhaps most of all, the human spirit (Irish Sunday Independent)

Startling and ultimately breath taking (Kirkus Reviews)

Horribly honest and funny ... Read this immediately (Gus Van Sant)

Harrowing, poetic and rather magnificent (FHM)

James Frey spent ten years addicted to alcohol and crack before going into rehab at the age of 23. This unrelenting memoir of his recovery spares no detail. Luckily, he is a good writer - indulgent and uncompromising (Metro)

Frey is selfish, egocentric, violent and pompous . . . What redeems this insufferably bad mannered book is that, at the end of the day, Frey can write. Brilliantly (Scotsman)

Frey's writing style vividly conveys the horrors of addiction ... dark humour and sharp observations are evidence of a keen intelligence and an unusual strength of character ... a totally absorbing book (The Magistrate)

Harrowing and unflinching ... This is not a book about drugs but about their aftermath ... Though definitely not for the faint hearted, Frey is often darkly and self deprecatingly funny. This is, in essence, a story of redemption and an incredibly moving one. This is a great book (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

This book is a raging, brilliant debut. (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

Crafted from genuine, raw emotion. (Irish Examiner)

'Blisteringly written ... The prose is superb' (Daily Express)

'James Frey propelled the memoir of dysfunctional life to the top of the bestseller lists' (Daily Telegraph)

'Frey's book combined high quality drug porn with memorable characters and a strong narrative arc that describes a modern version of Rake's Progress.' (Druglink Magazine)

'The last remarkable book I read... I couldn't put it down.' (Q Magazine, Dave Matthews)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on 18 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you believe the writer lived this life or not you cannot argue that it has been written well. A brilliant read.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Funkeemonkee on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KM on 19 Aug 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It has been a long time since I have found a book I literally struggle to put down and this has definitely broken that trend. I find myself counting down until my lunch break/end of working day just so I can read some more. I read a lot of books and this one is just fantastic. It was lent to me by a friend and I started reading on a whim as I had heard good things about it in the past. I wish I had read this sooner - a real page turner. It is very explicit in the way Fray talks of his withdrawals which may not be for the faint hearted and it also contains some bad language throughout. I am no prude but if this would upset you it’s worth the warning however I would like to add that the attention to detail serves a purpose to the story it is not unnecessary. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is honest, raw and gets you thinking about your own life addictions and how as human beings we deal with our demons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Hawkins on 25 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An utterly fantastic book. Ok James Frey clearly embelishes aspects of his criminal career in the book, and perhaps not surprisingly he's not quite the bad ass he makes himself out to be - The Smoking Gun website pretty much disects that. However, it doesn't change the fact that this book is pretty damned powerful.
I got this book as a gift after having read the equally great The Final Testament by the author. I wasn't too sure as it didn't seem my kind of thing, I'm never too sure about real life descents and miracle bron again stories. But wow I am so happy I gave it a go. Forget the embelishments, what you get is a great book. A life enhancing book. A book that defines drug addicts and their addictions, a book that defines friendship and family, and good grief even the defining nature of love.
Don't hesitate - read this book and be moved. I walked away from it feeling more alive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "smidge22" on 17 Dec 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is possibly the most fantastic piece of writing I've read in a long time. Having known someone who went through alcoholism and unfortunately didn't survive this account tells it exactly how it is. More than anything I have read before. It is utterly compelling and I wish there was some possibility of making sure that everyone who has been touched in some way - no matter how small - by addiction or alcoholism could get a copy. I found myself crying on the tube each morning as Frey's account hit every nerve it possibly could. Having just finished I turned to the beginning and started again. After all we see a different picture with the beauty of hindsight. Utterly utterly brilliant...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sunflower on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
I think this book has good points and bad points, and I agree with many of the diverse reviews I've read here. The writing explodes out of the page - it was rushy and fast and I felt like I'd been taken into the childish haphazard world of an addict. I was pleased that you don't have to be an Oxford scholar to be able to convey your experience in a meaningful way. I found the short sentences and incorrectly placed capital letters fit in well with how the writer wanted to express himself - placing importance randomly and unevenly and inventing his own laws and systems like an out-of-control person would. His world was distorted and mad and so was his punctuation and grammar. His short sentences gave the impression of speed and a short attention span, all fitting in with his character and how he had learned (or hadn't learned) to deal with life.

What a shame the writer didn't put this talent for writing into his real story. I felt like I was reading a fantasy. It was like when you replay an incident in your mind, with yourself saying all the things you should / would have said with hindsight. So I felt like I was reading the action replay in James' mind, rather than the truth of what really happened. He was always saying all the right things, giving the right amount of eye contact, always coming out on top, to the point where I felt I was reading about a comic strip hero.

However I was fascinated that he rejected the 12 steps. I've read the 12 steps and I decided that I didn't like them either. Changing your belief system in order to recover is no easy feat - how can you change what you believe so radically without deluding yourself? If you're only believing in god or a higher power to recover from addiction do you really believe?
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