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My Friend Leonard Paperback – 13 Mar 2006


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My Friend Leonard + A Million Little Pieces + Bright Shiny Morning
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (13 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561177
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Vivid, splashy and mesmerising (Independent)

The ability to evoke compassion and sympathy for a character, to make you feel part of their destiny is what makes "My Friend Leonard" so engaging. (Reading Chronicle, James Cleary)

Dangerously addictive (Tatler)

Frey is in a class of his own in inventive, idiosyncratic style (City Life (Manchester Time Out))

My Friend Leonard is a most rewarding experience. (Wales on Sunday)

Picassos and promise, racketeering and respect ... a stark and moving tribute to a complicated but loyal goodfella (Independent on Sunday)

An extraordinary tale of life after prison with a dangerous, delightful friend (Big Issue)

When a book proves difficult to put down, you know you're on to a good thing. (Sunderland Echo)

A sobering and fascinating account of one of the darkest periods of England's history. (The Good Book Guide)

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)

When a book proves difficult to put down, you know you're on to a good thing (Irish News)

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

'Beautiful, sad, potent, irresistible' (Elle)

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.' (Jane Eyre, Leeds)

Book Description

My Friend Leonard is the story of an extraordinary friendship formed in the most unlikely circumstances.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger Keen on 10 May 2010
Format: Paperback
As a sequel to A Million Little Pieces, I wondered if this would have anything worthwhile to say or whether it would prove to be just a limp attempt to cash in on the success of its predecessor. After a slowish start, it certainly did find its feet and developed into another most moving story.

Leonard is a superb character; you couldn't make him up from scratch yet he feels like a fictional creation. Ex-cocaine addict and alcoholic, ultra-rich criminal mastermind, art connoisseur, bon viveur and self-appointed adoptive father to James, he is very much larger than life. In this role, he pops into James' life, taking him out for lavish meals and dispensing good-natured fatherly wisdom. Meanwhile, James struggles with the inevitable flatness of post-addiction life, drifting through jobs and relationships whilst he finds his feet as a writer. Although the denouement is spoiled somewhat by A Million Little Pieces, there is a twist in the tail and another neat - quite novelistic - conclusion.

The prose style is spare, almost journal-like, but the book still retains a novel-like feel. After the controversy surrounding the made-up bits in A Million Little Pieces, one wonders how much is true and how much is made-up in My Friend Leonard; but if anything that increases its appeal as a read. Now we are in the era of the 'fake memoir': a 'true' story with fictionalised bits; but in former times we had the roman à clef: a 'novel' based on real life. Ultimately, is there really any difference? Is it a good read? - that's what matters. And with My Friend Leonard the answer is yes.
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4 of 4 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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