Customer Reviews


75 Reviews
5 star:
 (28)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so troubling
I really wanted to find fault with this book, given Frey's history, but I was moved shaken, stunned and even goddman educated by this incredible magnum opus. what moves me so much is the spartan story telling technique, the way it lays peoples lives out in broad simple strokes, un-decorated with similies metaphors and poetic language. There are no nature metaphors here,...
Published on 14 April 2009 by dobosphere

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read and great setting but a bit clichéd at times
Nice to read a novel set in contemporary Los Angeles that gives such a broad, sweeping portrait of the city. Unlike some other readers I loved the little snippets of 'facts' about L.A. peppered throughout. Some of the storylines were a little bit clichéd but still enjoyable. I liked the character Joe's strand best by far - really evocative of the Venice Beach...
Published on 7 Jun 2009 by noc


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so troubling, 14 April 2009
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
I really wanted to find fault with this book, given Frey's history, but I was moved shaken, stunned and even goddman educated by this incredible magnum opus. what moves me so much is the spartan story telling technique, the way it lays peoples lives out in broad simple strokes, un-decorated with similies metaphors and poetic language. There are no nature metaphors here, there is no God and no transcendence, there are just people in their multitudes, with their mini-story lives, and that is a thing of beauty to behold.
Bright shiny morning is a powerful and moving picture of a very messed up city. every character seems real and alive and we feel for them all, whether they are abusers or abused, victims or conquerors. life goes on and lives through these pages.
My only grievance is that one of the narrative strands seems to end short but then I just wanted this book to go on and on and on.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright shiny glitzy brash trashy morning, 13 Feb 2009
By 
Tealady2000 (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a riot of a book, with a fast-paced, frantic feel created by using a `stream of consciousness' narrative style in the present tense. (NB there is a distinct lack of punctuation, so if that bothers you, give this a miss). James Frey does an excellent job of trying to capture the character of a city through the style of writing. I loved the structure, in which more factual sections are interspersed with stories - some uplifting, most shocking - of those who come to LA seeking fame and fortune. A great holiday read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demons in the City of Angels, 2 Feb 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Hardcover)
Like John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" which is a novel about the Salinas Valley, James Frey's written a novel about Los Angeles, and wouldn't you know it, it's amazing.

The novel doesn't have Chapter 1, 2, etc. but does have separate sections which follow 4 main plot threads - a gay movie star, a young teen couple who've runaway to start a new life in LA, the daughter of immigrants out to find acceptance in society, and a beach bum. The book is also interspersed with sections devoted to facts about LA while separate pages divide these sections with each page containing a piece of history of LA from it's founding to present day. The main character - Los Angeles, the city itself - has separate sections about it's highways, it's movie industry, it's ethnic sections like Chinatown etc, it's weather and geography, it's inhabitants.

The beach bum, Old Man Joe, showed the life of a homeless person and yet was by far the most attractive (sort of). Joe is a great character, a man who lives in a toilet, drinking Chablis during the day, and sits on the beach at dawn awaiting a vision. He meets a young girl addicted to meth and beaten nearly to death and takes it upon himself to help her. Esperanza, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, provides the warm centre of the book. The beaten down underdog who succeeds in the end, her story was the sweetest and the one you cheered for once you reached the end. The young runaways, Dylan and Maddie, were the ones I thought were supposed to show the opposite to the many horrorific stories Frey throws out about people who come to LA, and it very nearly was until the ending. Frey really doesn't believe in happily ever after and keeps you guessing until the last page. The gay movie star, Amberton Parker (Parker = Cruise?), was the least interesting but was still readable.

I mention "East of Eden" because it's the great California novel. "Bright Shiny Morning", it's 21st century equivalent, is also a great California novel. It's ambitious and it's scope is large but Frey pulls it off admirably with maverick writing skills (difficult for some because of the unconventional use of grammar and punctuation - or absence thereof) and a strong instinct for storytelling. It's never boring and he never resorts to hackneyed reveals, coincidence, or melodramatic deus ex machinas.

There's too much in the book to talk about and too much I liked about it but suffice it to say that I wouldn't be surprised to see this in the Penguin Classics range in 100 years time. It's clever and has many layers to it but is also very entertaining and can be enjoyed by the casual reader looking for an excellent tale. I really think this is one of the best American novels of the last 10 years and if this is any indication then Frey is destined for quite a career. I look forward to the next novel. Bravo James Frey!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars City Of Blinding Lights, 4 Aug 2008
By 
Mr. S. O'kane "snagii" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From what I've read elsewhere James Frey has already cut an infamous figure in literary circles with his debut book 'A Million Little Pieces'. Purported - at first - to be a personal memoir of his past, it was later exposed by the media as pure fiction instead. Cue huge public outrage and a public dressing down & humiliation on the Oprah Winfrey show. To be honest, I'd not heard a single word about all of this before I began this novel and I'm glad I didn't: 'Bright Shiny Morning' is absolutely brilliant regardless of any reputation Frey has.

This novel isn't easy to describe. There are 4 main plots and these are mixed in with either brief snapshots of other minor denizens of LA or various bits of trivia about the city today (for example a list of the innumerate murderous gangs that roam its streets). Every break in the book is punctuated with events in the history of the city in the form of a single paragraph on a single page. Like the city itself, the novel is a sprawling mix of these strands but it never complicates itself by twisting them all together. The brief snippets of history and one off stories here & there allow the 4 main plots to breathe independently.

I thoroughly enjoyed this innovative book from cover to cover. Aside from the book's wonderful structure, the 4 main stories reflect the best known aspects of LA (& America today) very well: the rich & famous, the down & out, the migrant worker and kids in search of the American Dream. I often did wonder amidst the bulk of the novel if some of the shorter ones would be expanded later on or somehow clash with the bigger stories but, on reflection now, I'm glad they didn't. Such is the vastness of LA's varied populace, perhaps leaving out other individual voices meant some parts had to stand alone (beguilingly) in the way they did. The novel is really is a such a huge, delicious yet terrifying mix of ideas and one started to sense that the lead character wasn't someone from the 4 main stories, but Los Angeles itself.

This is my novel of the year so far. By a country mile. A modern masterpiece.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great achievement, 7 Feb 2010
By 
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
I feared this may be a trashy novel in the Collins genre.....it is not. It is an intelligent piece of work, depicting a wide ranging cast of characters in an earthy and realistic portrayal of life in Los Angeles. Each chapter starts with a piece of information regarding the development of the area and, as we move into the story, learn quite a bit more about this metropolis and how it became what it is today.

I do have a criticism - Mr Frey is rather fond of lists. Lists of gun purchasers, lists of gangs, lists of freeways. I know these lists are used to make a point but it is a tactic used too often, hence loses impact with every new list.

I quite forgot I was reading a work of fiction - it is very believable and fully deserving of a five star rating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable, 31 May 2012
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book - I know the authour is controversial in the US for his other work, A Million Little Pieces and the whole Oprah Winfrey business but I didn't let that deter me from judging this book on its own merit and I thoroughly enjoyed it.I liked the lists of facts about LA, although not so much the fictional lists such as daily log of guns/ rifles sold. The story features four main plots - a young couple escaping a horrible family life in a small town US city, a famous Hollywood actor living in the closet with a cover up wife (a lesbian) and children, a young insecure, intelligent Mexican woman scraping a living cleaning rich peoples houses and a homeless alcoholic, aswell as little snippets of numerous characters which were given a brief description of but no actual storyline, which I felt could have maybe been developed a little more? Overall, I enjoyed the story of the young couple the most as I felt the characters were the ones I could relate to and would like a sequel to find out what happens to them next? Overall, excellent read and one I would recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 15 May 2011
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
Please be warned,do not start this book unless you have time to lose yourself in this fast paced ,unforgettable experience of a read.This book delves into the lives of people like me and you,and the richest and the poorest people of L.A.It dips into the history of the beginnings of this city through to the present day whilst keeping you completely hooked on its humanity.You will feel better for the experience,but it will leave you searching out Freys other works immediately.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty realistic and you can almost smell LA., 20 May 2009
By 
N. J. Barnett (London,England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
I bought this book having read James Frey other books. I was prepared to be disappointed but wasn't. There are alot of different characters to try to get to grips with but it is so much like the shizophrenic attitidue of city life. There are so many contrasts, classes, races and shows how messed up life is. I love the comparison of actors who are paid millions to remember a few lines while the most philosophical character is living on Venice Beach and lives with his daily fix of wine.
I much prefer realistic books compared to the wishy washy stuff which is usually out there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first new direction in literature for centuries, 23 Aug 2008
By 
SH_ (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Hardcover)
This is quite simply the best novel I have ever read, by a very long margin. It does everything that Pynchon tries to do but fails because he's too clever and abstract. Without ever using incomprehensible language James Frey breaks the ridiculous stranglehold of heroic plotting and focus on one individual to give us a novel with multiple points of interest that had me simply gasping for more and devastated when I came to the end.

Nothing I have ever read before achieved that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast - and (a bit) furious, 3 Sep 2009
By 
Oliver Kreuter "OK-in-MUC" (München) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Paperback)
Definitely a very LA book - and worth your while, if you ever wondered what LA and its people are all about. It uses the Hollywood attitude of the city, sprinkling itself with the glitter, and the grit, that many associate with Los Angeles.
This is the first book by James Frey I read. And a quick read it was - the stories and characters are fascinating, engaging and you have the feeling you must have, or at least could have, met some of the characters during your last stay in LA. Never mind they are all just characters in a book, thererfore over the top, acting the way they do because it makes a better story. And as with any decent novels, you will find elements that you like, and others that won't go down easy - but the mix makes for a fascinating story.
A very timely book, where fates are shredded into bits that appear, disappear and reappear blended in with ten other stories. Some storylines end well, others just end, or - suitably, since it IS fiction - they end in disaster.

I recommend it as a vacation read, somewhere in the sun - poolside.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bright Shiny Morning
Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey (Paperback - 19 Mar 2009)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews