3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Another most moving story,
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (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.