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A Million Little Pieces [Paperback]

James Frey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

10 May 2004

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.


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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: 3.4 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,165 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer 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
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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a million huge emotions 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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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it matter? 20 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
I feel that people who slate James Frey for fabricating some details are missing the point of A Million Little Pieces as I was more directly moved by the essence of the book.
It is about his journey from the darkest point in his life to self-discovery. He makes a very interesting and valid point about the AA’s twelve steps programme and the logic and simplicity of making choices. I do not think he was trying to boast about his experiences, so much as to get a point across about his beliefs and what he discovered about himself. Consequently I shall forgive him this, merely because through what he says whether fiction or fact I have learnt a great deal more than I ever have from picking up a self-help book!
If people bring in to question the accuracy of truth in a biography or auto-biography, there opens a great precipice of questions. How can we distinguish fact from fiction when memory alters fact on a daily basis and the media alters fact on an hourly basis? I think it’s sad that Frey wasn’t more honest about events in the first place, but I can understand why he did it and A Million Little Pieces will always hold pride of place on my bookshelf because it is an oringal, intriguing and thought provoking read.
Plus I do feel that James Frey deserves a bit of respect for standing up and letting himself be counted. He has received his criticism graciously and openly acknowledges his responsibility in what has happened.
I urge you to read it and judge for yourself!
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By KM
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this and understand life 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Exceptional . Couldn't put it down and the characters in the book stayed with me for weeks afterwards. Fully recommended!
Published 5 days ago by Grace
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really enjoyed
Published 9 days ago by LORNA N.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 10 days ago by marmarc40
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory read
Couldn't put this book down and then couldn't stop thinking about it
Published 11 days ago by shelley baldwin
1.0 out of 5 stars Fake rubbish, don't waste your money
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... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a must read
Published 1 month ago by Helen RobInon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Million Little Pieces
A perfect example of what lengths people will go to when caught in the clutches of addiction, and what a hard path sobriety can be to follow... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. K. James
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really good, loved his unique writing style.
Published 2 months ago by Diane Brownett
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any lost and wandering souls.
Fabulous book. Not a relaxing Sunday afternoon type read. Heavy going in places. Well written and gritty though.
Published 2 months ago by A RICHARDS
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read and stays long in the mind
A frightening and chilling book about addiction. An excellent read and stays long in the mind,
Published 2 months ago by J. A. Samson
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