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My Friend Leonard

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  34,898 Ratings  ·  1,556 Reviews
The New York Times bestselling follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller A Million Little Pieces-the heartrending story of a friendship between a newly-sober James and the charismatic, high-living mobster he met in rehab, Leonard.

A Million Little Pieces was the first Oprah Book Club pick by a living author in over two years. It instantly became a #1 New York Times bes
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Riverhead Books (first published 2005)
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Best Strange and Twisted Memoirs
34th out of 399 books — 883 voters
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62nd out of 559 books — 1,227 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.L.   Sutton
May 01, 2016 J.L. Sutton rated it liked it
Should it matter if a memoir is truthful? By asking this question, I guess it’s safe to say I went into James Frey’s My Friend Leonard with some misgivings. The act of memoir writing inherently produces meaning, but that’s not the same as manufacturing meaning, not the same as finding events (which possibly didn’t happen) to fit a pre-determined story. What’s called truth may lie in a fuzzy area of the memoirist’s memory not always accessible as a complete emotional/visual record. That’s why mem ...more
Mike
Jan 06, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
I picked up "My Friend Leonard" by James Frey. This book is the follow up to "A Million Little Pieces" which is the book that started such a furor last year. The one that the author claimed to be true and the Smoking Gun website discovered was more likely an exaggeration of the truth. Oprah went a lil crazy and everyone trashed the guy. What a lot of people didn't take into account is that "true" or "somewhat true" "A Million Little Pieces" was a great book. A story of the hell of rehabilitaion ...more
Maashu
Sep 23, 2008 Maashu rated it it was amazing
I never cared whether Frey's A Million Little Pieces was real or not. The truth is, if you enjoy his writing style, you're sure to be caught up in the environment and especially the characters he creates. I read this in one day on a flight from San Diego to Detroit.

My Friend Leonard pretty much picks up where A Million Little Pieces left off. If you thought it couldn't get any worse, think again. My Friend Leonard follows Frey's post-rehab trials and tribulations, and examines the continuation o
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Susannah
Apr 20, 2008 Susannah rated it it was amazing
I normally would reserve the 5 star rating for a book that I think NOONE should miss...but I just have to give this book 5 stars. Some people might like it, some people might think it is just okay. I read it immediately following A Million Little Pieces, and it is a great sequel.
I love Leonard.
I love Leonard.
I love Leonard.
I cried harder at the end of this book than I have ever cried after a book or movie...maybe it's because I am a pregnant hormonal headcase right now...but I SOBBED.
Then I to
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anarki
Nov 07, 2011 anarki rated it it was amazing
This is a follow-up for A Million Little Pieces. You should read AMLP before reading this one. I am deeply touched by AMLP. So I expected nothing less from this book. And as expected … It exceeded my expectations.

The story starts with James getting out from Rehab. Serving his jail-time and waiting until his time there dies out. The scary future full of hope with Lilly is what he's living for. Excitement and Anxiety flows with each beat of his heart each heartbeat spent without Lilly seems to be
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Suzanne
Aug 26, 2007 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether this book is fact or fiction does not mean crap to me, which was exactly my stance on A Million Little Pieces. It was just a good book. James reminds me a lot of someone I know and in some ways, of myself and some of my family members. His friendship with Leonard, albeit ridiculous, was very special and the stories in this book made me laugh and cry. If you read A Million Little Pieces you already knew what Leonard's demise was, but that certainly didn't make it any less heart-breaking ...more
Anastasia
Apr 08, 2011 Anastasia rated it did not like it
I read A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and I liked it. I devoured it. Despite the controversy that a lot of it was made up. It was made up to make James Frey look like a hardcore badass. But really it turns out that he's just another entitled rich white kid with too much time on his hands and too much money so he does too many drugs then ends up in rehab. Then writes a best selling "memoir" that turns out to be held together by lies and covered up by the convenient death of the majority of ...more
Michelle
Jun 30, 2007 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this one was so much more far-fetched than A Million Little Pieces. If I doubted Pieces, this one I downright didn't believe. Once again it should have been promoted as fiction, although actually I think it may have been promoted as such. I thought Pieces was better because it described so much struggling to get to where he got, and My Friend Leonard was pretty much "here I am, la-di-da" with good things happening all the time and a good ending and everyone is happy ever after. Totally ...more
Robyn
Jul 09, 2008 Robyn rated it it was amazing
Loved what is the big fuss over if it's the whole truth or not? kept me entertained for awhile!
Kate Hoffman
Oct 24, 2007 Kate Hoffman rated it really liked it
I know everyone gave Mr. Frey a whole lot of (probably deserved) shit for these two books of his, but I really enjoyed them. I could even overlook that they were on Oprah's book club list (which I got a LOT of shit about from my generally hateful friends). Since I'd heard about the inaccuracies in his first story - "A Million Little Pieces" - before reading either, I went in to each regarding them as works of total fiction. The writing was gripping, to say the least and the character development ...more
Jomanah Aloumi
One hell of a bad book.
Rebecca McNutt
My Friend Leonard features two unlikely companions, one a former junkie still mourning the death of the woman he loved, and the other a mobster whose life is like something out of a film. However, appearances can be deceiving and Leonard might be covering up something that even a guy involved in organized crime might not be able to handle.

The great thing about this book is that it's so honest. The author's writing is intentionally written at first from the mindset of a man in rehab wanting his
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Peachy
Yawn...



If ever there was a book that triggered me to pick up a cigarette after having quit so many months ago, it would be this one. From the ashtray on the cover to the chronic smoking that takes place by almost all of the characters, reading My Friend Leonard turned out to be an exercise in will power, if nothing else.



This is the sequel to Frey's first faux memoir, A Million Little Pieces and although I really enjoyed that novel, this one was rather stale and I had to really push myself to ge
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Amanda Linehan
Jul 31, 2007 Amanda Linehan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who read A Million Little Pieces
It always takes me a while to get into James Frey's style of writing, but once I get past it I'm sucked into the books. Sadly, I'm willing to overlook the fact that he made parts of the book up because it's a good read; that said, I found the plot to be totally predictable in the way that only fictional stories can be. Life just doesn't arc that way, and it doesn't operate in a sea of cliches like this book does. It is distracting as you're reading to realize that the improbable parts are likely ...more
Oriana
Dec 02, 2011 Oriana rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2011
I am so fucking behind on everything in my life. Here are my "private notes" I made for myself like a zillion weeks ago when I actually read this book. I though I'd have time to make them into an actual review, and maybe one day I will. Until then, here's some scribbley nonsense.

The quirky style gets in the way of the story with this one, unlike in A Million Little Pieces, where it meshed and pulled you in. Here it's overdone and kind of cripples the prose, makes it plodding and harder to read,
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Farheen
Jun 06, 2016 Farheen rated it liked it
My biggest misgiving is that I read this book before reading A Million Little Pieces. I think my connection with and understanding of characters would have been deeper had I read the first part.
Regardless, I enjoyed this book. It was poignant, deep, emotionally coercive. The disconnected thoughts and his consciousness, that a lot of readers found troublesome, made it easier for me to connect with the protagonist. His loss was so powerful and profound. It was beautiful, in a tragic way.
But I ha
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JK
Jan 24, 2015 JK rated it liked it
I really wanted to hate this book. I was fully prepared to hate this book. After reading the entirety of A Million Little Pieces, taking it in as a memoir, and loving every minute of it, only to find out the majority of the story was sheer fiction, I had trust issues with James Frey. This time, though, I was prepared. I knew it was highly unlikely that this book would be all truth. I had absolutely no thoughts in my head that this is was in any way an account of Frey's life. I took the story in ...more
Della Scott
Apr 28, 2014 Della Scott rated it it was ok
I read both this and Million Little Pieces back when the hoax was first revealed. "Hoax" probably seems like overly strong language to those of you who like Frey.
My theory is this: James Frey had some problems with drugs and alcohol in High school and college, bad enough that he went to rehab. But he also was a fabulist who spent a lot of time watching old movies--film noir and things like the Godfather, reading, especially books about crime and gangsters, and watching old TV shows. He first sho
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Chandra
Apr 16, 2012 Chandra rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Not sure what possessed me to add a book to my "to read" list that has an ashtray on it. I didn't even get past the first chapter. Awful sophomoric writing in a robotic manner. Waste of my time.
Lenlyn01
Oct 30, 2012 Lenlyn01 rated it really liked it
I remeber reading this book and kept wanting more. It is not a romance book by far which it took me way out of my elements cause that is what I'm partial too. I'm glad I gave it a chance though.
Amy Margaroli
May 16, 2011 Amy Margaroli rated it it was amazing
this is such an amazing book. it was super entertaining and i *bawled* like a baby at the end. i hardly ever cry at a book. just fabulous, do yourself a favor and read it :D
Coleen
Mar 07, 2015 Coleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.5 stars) It's been quite a few years since I read A Million Little Pieces. Despite the controversy, I liked it a lot & felt that James Frey was a good writer. A few years later, I read Bright Shiny Morning, liked that one a lot, & felt justified in thinking that he was a good writer. So now I just finished Leonard, and yes, in my book, he's 3 for 3. Am I bothered that a couple of these books were marketed as memoir but later revealed to be fabricated to a degree? Yes, a little bit, be ...more
Katherine
Jan 02, 2009 Katherine rated it really liked it
Written in a non-traditional and stream of consciousness style, Frey’s book, My Friend Leonard, breaks the stylistic boundaries set by traditional creative nonfiction. Frey uses run-on sentences, dialogue that is blurred together with text, and no discernable system of using paragraphs. Although it takes a little bit of time to get used to Frey’s story because of his iconoclastic writing style, it is well worth the wait.
Frey writes about the friendship he had with a man named Leonard. Frey met
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Kim
Oct 01, 2009 Kim rated it liked it
This is Frey’s follow up to a million little pieces. I thought it less good and less engaging. However, Frey’s writing style does make it easy to just keep reading.

In this book he has been released from rehab and it starts with his jail term. Apparently the time in jail and the people he met are largely fictitious but I get that he was trying to communicate a state of being as much as a situation.

The book then goes on to document his life as he gets his shit together in the real world without t
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Brittany
Sep 24, 2009 Brittany rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who've read James Frey's first book
Recommended to Brittany by: Sarah
Shelves: memoir, fiction
How I Came To Read This Book: I've literally had this book in my to read pile for upwards of three years. I think it deserves an award for sticking it out for so long - and so does my friend Sarah, for lending it to me. I do a roulette to choose my books, hence why this one was passed over so long. That plus I hated 'A Million Little Pieces'.

The Plot: This book essentially fast forwards through James Frey's fictional 90 days in prison after his departure from Hazelden, a rehab facility that serv
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Scott
Apr 21, 2009 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rate this audiobook 3 stars but close to 4.
A sequel that is a must-read, and I recommend this book, but not nearly as much as Little Pieces.

*SPOILERs in this review.*

The reader of this audiobook was really outstanding. One of the best I've heard and I've heard a lot.

The story picks up at the end of the a million little pieces. It outlines extensively how blessed our hero, James, really is. He gets tons of help from friends, family and his not so mysterious benefactor mafia friend Leonard. Wh
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Zahed
Feb 25, 2012 Zahed rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
This one continues from where James left you in A Million Little Pieces. I may not want to comment on the validation of characters and incidents that are portrayed here, cause quite frankly i do not care and I just love the way James writes.

This is a testimony to the best friend of James from his rehab. It goes to show how commitment in relationships can be as or far greater when they are not bound by blood. I loved every bit of the book, cause i believed right through as this being the percept
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Jen
Aug 11, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it
I was very skeptical when reading this one - but my book club picked it and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I was not a fan of 'A Million Little Pieces' but this book was definitely an improvement. I was expecting the same type of punctuation and non use of capitalization in this book, but that part was improved on. I couldn't help but wonder how much of the book was fact vs. fiction because of the first book. I actually felt connected to the charachters and couldn't put the book down because I n ...more
Imogen
Jun 19, 2011 Imogen rated it liked it
Did I cry with this book? Yes. Would I have cried if I hadn't read "A Million Little Pieces" first? Probably not. The point is, I cried and you will too if you understand the depth of their relationship.

Frey's writing is a little distracting, especially since there are no "paragraphs," per se, and because he tends to have sentences that aren't completely sentences. Either way, you eventually get into the story and the writing loses its grip on you.

The story is one you have to have understood pr
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Marsha
Aug 08, 2008 Marsha rated it really liked it
I loved "A Million Little Pieces" and was really nonplussed by the drama that ensued, when it turned out to be not quite a memoir. My feeling was that it was a great book either way. Who cares if he embellished?
So imagine my surprise as I delved into "My Friend Leonard" and found myself unable to shake the feeling that I was being deceived. I couldn't help but wonder, how much of what I was reading was the truth?
Fortunately, the story and characters (particularly the glorious Leonard) were so en
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Reading Leonard 15 201 Jan 18, 2013 03:36PM  
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James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. After battling with alcohol addiction and spending time in rehab, he wrote A Million Little Pieces which was published in 2003 in America and the following year in the UK to critical acclaim. He wrote the sequel, My Friend Leonard about life after rehab, which was published in 2005 in the US and the year after in the UK.

Jam
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“Pain is the feeling. Suffering is the effect the pain inflicts. If one can endure pain, one can live without suffering. If one can withstand pain, one can withstand anything. If one can learn to control pain, one can learn to control oneself. ” 379 likes
“Leonard asks me if there's anything I need to know before he dies, I think about it for a minute, turn to him, say what's the meaning of life, Leonard? He laughs, says that's an easy one, my son, it's whatever you want it to be.” 165 likes
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