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My Friend Leonard Paperback – 9 May 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray Pub.; Airside/Export ed edition (9 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561160
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 23.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,713,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


My Friend Leonard will go some way to cementing his reputation as one of the finest young writers around. (Irish Examiner)

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 on A MILLION LITTLE PIECE)

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 on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES)

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

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 on A MILLION LITTLE PIECE)

A heartbreaking memoir ... inspirational and essential (Bret Easton Ellis on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES)

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 on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES)

He takes you inside his world of pain, and it's like a small, brightly lit cell ... Life, Frey tells us, is pretty disturbing and weird when you're out of your head. But try living it sober. (The Spectator)

A deeply affecting book. A tiring one, too: read it, and you will appreciate the way Frey weathered a full-frontal assault from emotions he didn't know existed. .... Vivid, splashy and mesmerising. (Independent)

The idea of reading about the road to recovery of someone whose lifestyle I could neither condone nor understand didn't inspire me at all. WRONG!!! Within two pages all prejudice was forgotten and I immediately felt an empathy with the main character.' (Jayne Eyre, Leeds)

Book Description

Written in the hallmark visceral style of A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard is a mesmerising insight into a friendship built in an astonishing underworld

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Oct 2005
Format: Hardcover
i'm guessing most people will be coming to this book having read "a million pieces", frey's first memoir, and this book picks up where a million pieces left off with frey coming to the end of his prison sentence for his various drug and alcohol fueled activities.
but it would be wrong to assume that this is going to be more of the same. where a million pieces was a fiercely angry and often unpleasantly vivid account of frey's struggles with crack and alcohol, my friend leonard takes a lighter tone as it deals with the subjects of friendship and rebuilding and it's certainly no worse for the change of emphasis.
frey still has a great turn of phrase, a enormously readable style and critically, a story to tell. as the title suggests, at the centre of the book are his friendship with fellow addict and west coast mob boss leonard who he met in rehab, but it also takes in frey's relationship with his girlfriend from rehab lily, and his attempts to assemble some sort of adult life following a decade of alcohol and drug abuse that started in his teens.
one thing that concerned me a little about this book as i started reading was that the last couple of pages of a million little pieces summarise what happens to most of the characters frey meets in rehab, leonard and, in particular, lilly included. yet ultimately that does not massively detract from what happens in this book. this is a book not about what finally happens but about how everyone gets to where they end up, and despite knowing elements of the ending it's none the less powerful - as with great newspaper journalism the headline only whets your appetite for the full story.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. Bryant on 20 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
After reading the final page of "A Million Little Pieces" I thought, how is he going to top that?! After starting to read "My Friend Loenard" and becoming addicted to James & his world all over again, it was obvious this book was going to be another WOW read!

I found this book even more compelling and addictive and lovable than his first. The twists it takes are shocking, yet you feel a sympathy and love for the characters still.

I have enjoyed my journey through James' world and I thank him for allowing me in.

There is however one disappointment with this book. In the final pages of "A Million Little Pieces" we learn about what happens after and that spoils it a little when reading "My Friend Leonard" as you know what's going to happen. However, the way in which James writes, makes up for this disappointment.

When's the third?!?!?!?!?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Louise & Joe on 4 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book with some apprehension following the issues surrounding the author's first book 'A million little pieces'. I desperately wanted to know the next stage in James Frey's life but wasn't sure if I could trust the words. In the end I tried to stop thinking it was an autobriography or a memoir and instead looked at it as a story of fiction - and it was a really good story!

The author's style of writing has been toned down from the first book - no more random capitalisations, excessive sentence/word repeats and what was left was a vivid, easy to read, almost prose like piece of work. I rooted for James and wanted the best for him, I suppose thats the natural instinct when reading any kind of 'getting out of rehab/fixing my life' books. Either way, I felt like James was a friend to me, and I really wanted him to succeed.

My most favourite character in this book (and in A million little pieces) is Leonard - his warmth, banter with Snapper, kind heart... enough reason to name a book after him!

I laughed and I cried in this book.. I never thought I would, don't you love it when a book suprises you? :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glaucon on 28 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the follow up to " A million little pieces". Frey is out of rehab and adjusting to "normality" with help from one of his fellow rehab patients, Leonard. This is far more obviously fictionalised than his previous book as the plot and time lines are just too neat and tidy to be true; and the character of Leonard is, frankly, unbelievable.

The first book caused a storm with Frey admitting that he had made up large parts of the story however this is a great read if approached as fiction (or faction) and, as with all good fiction, does contain "truth" in the emotional reactions of the characters, in particular the narrator, Frey.

The terse, repetitive prose style is unchanged and works very well with the subject matter. Time will tell whether Frey is a versatile enough novelist to tackle subjects other than his idealised self.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By I. Curry VINE VOICE on 4 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
James Frey is a controversial figure. His first book, a Million Little Pieces, was quietly received before word of mouth snowballed sales into thousands. The crescendo was reached by the book appearing as part of Oprah's `book club'. Millions read Frey's story of reaching rock bottom, scrabbling and scratching in the dirt before a raw, real redemption. And then success inevitably brought suspicion. Journalists took a cynical comb to the story, and decided that James Frey was a liar. His story didn't stack up. His sufferings were faked, his pains embellished and his difficulties dreamt. Now in addition to being a drug addicted, alcoholic criminal he was a lying, drug addicted, alcoholic criminal. Or worse still, he was just a liar. And for the author of a work of biographical non-fiction that is a problem.

I loved a Million Little Pieces. I loved how someone completely messed up could produce a work of such harrowing, yet moving beauty. I loved the style, how the prose was as rough and jagged and real as the author. I loved how even someone who had messed up their lives really badly could be saved. For someone suffering from his own demons it was a message I needed and absorbed. So when it seemed that the story was fake it ruined the message. The raw truth, the honesty and plunging lows had made me love the book. The revelation that it was fiction made me think twice. And so I had stayed away from My Friend Leonard, the follow up to a Million Little Pieces. It was over a year after its release before I would come to read it.

I realised that Frey's dishonesty was going to be an issue from the book by juxtaposing the `disclaimer' on the first few pages with the opening line.
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