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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer
Whether you believe the writer lived this life or not you cannot argue that it has been written well. A brilliant read.
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by J. Smith

versus
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately disappointing
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...
Published on 29 Dec 2009 by Sunflower


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer, 18 Feb 2012
By 
J. Smith (uk) - See all my reviews
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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
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. It is also a great book for parents of teenagers to read, as it does give a great insight into the mind of a confused young guy falling a bit too far into the drink and drug scene. For an insight on serious addiction though, I would look elsewhere (Piece of Cake is great)

The inevitable movie will no doubt be a box office smash
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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
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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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personally, I love it, 12 Aug 2006
By 
Paul Johnson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
You need to be aware before reading this book that you are either going to love it or hate it. There will be no middle ground. The book does not deserve it.

Frey's introduction to the later prints of this book acknowledges that some of the incidents are possibly not true and, if you end up in the hating it bracket, embelished, but he justifies this with the explanation that he was not entirely of a sound mind at the times he was trying to recollect.

This book is about an Alcoholic, drug Adict and Criminal in his own words. Frey is, for those of us who live in a safe middle class world, the worst of the worst. Someone who has wasted his life, despite having loving parents and a supporting family, choosing instead drugs and alcohol and criminality. The book starts with his arrival in a rehabilitation centre and develops over his time there.

In the centre he comes across as a difficult patient, unwilling to accept what he is being taught, but it is more because he is trying to do things his own way. It is a fine example of how there may be more than one way to solve a problem.

This is a book that pulls no punches. There is a situation in the first third of the book (one of the situations that Frey acknowledges may have been mistold) that I read whilst standing waiting to meet someone and I had to sit down due to feeling unwell. There is another paragraph at the end of the book that had me close to tears. It is emotional and moving throughout.

For people who have experienced addiction, I can imagine it is not an easy book to read and would be easy to disagree with, as I get the feeling that addiction is something that is different for all. As someone who was fortunate to grow up in a similar safe, middle class environment as Frey it causes different feelings. There but for the Grace of God go I is the main feeling I got from it. Not to say that I have been close to being an adict, more that I can see how it happens, and I am glad it did not to me.

This is an amazingly and well written book. I would recommend it to everyone, though I would tell everyone that there is a big chance you may hate it.

It's that sort of book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately disappointing, 29 Dec 2009
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? I thought that was a really interesting part of his story and I wanted to know more. What was disappointing was that his story wasn't completely real and one of my reasons for finishing the book was because I wanted to find out about his alternative to the 12 steps. I don't feel enlightened.
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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
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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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet of it's genre, 20 July 2004
Okay, wow. I woke up at 10am today and have only just (nearly 6 hours later) put this book down. I've read a lot of similar books in my time, and more recently the Augusten Burrows books Dry and Running With Scissors, but James Frey's stunning autobiographical account of his time in rehab was just too good to compare. I don't really know what to say. Just read it. It's not self-pitying, it's not destructive (in that it won't make you want to drink or drug) and it reflects so well on a guy who you know hasn't wasted this 2nd chance at his life. I hope he's written more or is planning to. GO AND BUY THIS BOOK. NOW!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, Emotion Inducing, Inspiring...., 5 Sep 2006
By 
Ok. So I have never been an addict, alcoholic and cannot possibly know what the immense struggle of handling and overcoiming multiple addictions. I am sure this book is NOT meant to be used as a guide to 'giving up', merely a cathartic account of one young man's struggle with his inner demons and a few external ones too.

IT is thought provoking - the interaction he has with his parents - you may well find yourself considering your own history, and the influence of your parents on how you are today.

It is emotionally charge in parts, particularly (for me) moments of redepmtion, of love and friendship, and his ultimate victory.

It is inspiring too. Not merely with respect to his battle with addiction - but also in some of the philosphies taht he encounters. Many of us at some time feel our lives are 'out of control' or even worse, 'out of OUR control'. This tale can certainly put our problems into perspective and also offers some solace in teh fact that nothing is ever quite as bad as it seems - or at least - tehre is always some way to overcome the problems we face.

Overall - inspiring look into the social condition through the eys of drug addict and criminal. an interesting read that may well hold a certain truth for us all
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Frey exposes his character as well as his skills as a very talented author., 18 July 2006
By 
KP (Manchester) - See all my reviews
Noone had recommended this book to me. I was looking for academic books in the psychology section of a second-hand book shop when this completely different book caught my eye instead. The academic stuff can wait. It has taken me 7 months to read it, much longer than usual, partly because of a busy student lifestyle, and probably because I didn't find it utterly compulsive, I found I was able put the book down. I suppose there were parts in the book where I had to be a little patient, but I see this more as the author succeeding in his portrayal, as through repetive explicit accounts of his dreams and his morning trips to the bathroom I grew tired of his addiction. As I know very little about drug addiction and alcoholism, it helps in understanding the extent of the seriousness of addiction and the ordeals that have to be endured in rehabilitation.

It is vital that the author brought us in at the deep end. We know very little about James in the first few chapters, but you become increasingly engrossed as you gradually learn more about his character. Through his brutal honesty, openness, and his description of himself as a victim solely of his bad decisions, you begin to respect him. Also the portrayals of his relationships within the isolated treatment centre with Leonard, Miles, Lilly and Joanne convey the sheer impact of friendship, love and respect, away from the influences of outside world. You only realise how genuine these relationships actually are when you read the last two pages, because its content hits you hard and it is gutting, nevertheless realistic.

The alternative grammar (mid-sentence capitalisation, lack of quotation marks and sometimes commas, lack of indentation) adds to the raw quality of the author's account.

This is a read that plays on a vast range of emotions. Frustrating, thought-provoking, and hopeful, James Frey exposes his character as well as his skills of an excellent and deeply talented writer.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most moving book I've ever read, 9 Jun 2004
This book came to me with a high recommendation, but in the end it undersold the book. This book moved me more than anything else I've ever read. James writes with heart wrenching honesty. I couldn't put the book down once I got a few pages into it, I wanted to see how it turned out. The strength he shows in facing and getting through the experience he has is phenomenal, quite inspirational. The experience is making me rethink things in my own life.
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