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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 (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,093 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.


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

39 of 45 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By fiery fee on 18 Feb. 2014
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 By Rocke Harder on 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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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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