Arminzerella's Reviews > My Friend Leonard

My Friend Leonard by James Frey
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Dec 26, 2009

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bookshelves: nonfiction, autobiography-memoir, drug-use, addiction, friendship, alcoholism, 12-steps, borrowed-from-the-library
Read in December, 2006

This is the sequel to James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.” It’s written in the same style – very immediate, as if we’re privy to his thoughts rather than his utterances. Frey continues his story – the after-rehab, after incarceration, after he drives to Chicago on the day after the death of Lilly’s grandmother and arrives to find her dead by her own hand. Although James is new to living and dealing with his emotions, he manages to make it through these difficulties without self-medicating. He neither takes up drugs or alcohol again, although he does keep a bottle of cheap wine around to remind him that at any moment he *can.* It must be difficult, because all of his friends drink, and he seems to hang out with them all the time. You’d think that he’d be eager to find some other friends and pursuits that don’t revolve around these things, but it’s as if people like that don’t exist. Maybe they don’t.

Leonard is a constant presence in this new life of Frey’s. He looks out for him, he keeps tabs on him, he makes sure that he’s taken care of. Frey wants to do a lot on his own, but he does spend some time working for Leonard. Later he goes straight and takes up writing – screenplays, books, whatever. He directs a movie. He produces others. He moves to L.A., adopts a couple of dogs, finds love, works. Still thinks about drinking, about drugs, about Lilly’s death. It’s life. It’s very real, it isn’t perfect, and a lot of things about it suck. But the difference this time around is that James Frey wants to be there for it – for all of it.

If you enjoyed “A Million Little Pieces,” chances are you’ll like this as well. At the very least, you’ll be curious to find out what happened to James. This wasn’t as painful or heart-wrenching as the first – not quite as raw – but it is very satisfying. Ignore the preponderance of “My Son”s from Leonard that will start to annoy you every time he shows up at Frey’s door and you’ll quite enjoy this sequel.

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