Kim's Reviews > My Friend Leonard

My Friend Leonard by James Frey
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's review
Oct 01, 2009

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 the help of drugs and booze. I found myself not really caring like I did when reading a million little pieces. James seems a more distant character in this section of his life story. He also got lucky by having a benefactor such as Leonard, who I do think is a real person. Not many recovering addicts have the luxury of easy jobs and financial help if needed. Perhaps a different addict would have taken advantage of this and slipped back into active addiction. But I wasn’t rooting for him in this book quite as much as previously.

However, I don’t think the book was written primarily to chart James’ improvement but rather as a tribute to his friend Leonard. Leonard sounds like he was a good man, even if a crook. He supported the very fucked up kid that James was when they first met and continued to do so until he could no more. And even then he did actually.

It’s a pity that the tribute to Leonard gets lost in the marvel that is James Frey’s recovery. I felt Leonard deserved better – his own story maybe rather than a tag on to James’.

Still, very readable and worth borrowing from a friend.
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