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A Million Little Pieces Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: John Murray; Unabridged edition (20 Jan 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 184854605X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848546059
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.4 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,054,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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)

Clear sighted and intellectually honest (Literary 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)

Startling and ultimately breath taking (Kirkus Reviews)

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

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)

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

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)

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 text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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