Brandon's Reviews > A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
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's review
Jan 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, non-fiction, 2009, fiction

In 2003, James Frey released A Million Little Pieces, a memoir detailing his 10 year battle with drug and alcohol abuse. Praised by critics and championed by Oprah Winfrey, it seemed like Frey had achieved literary success. However, fast forward 2 years and website, "The Smoking Gun", investigated the legitimacy of some of the claims made in Frey's memoir. It turns out that Frey had embellished a few of the major events within his autobiography; mostly to do with jail time and his main love interest. Unfortunately, almost all reviews and press related to this book since that time period dwell heavily on the controversy and less on the story itself and really, it's not very fair.

A lot of people felt slighted or even taken advantage of due to Frey's erroneous claims and of course, people are entitled to their own opinions; one of the reasons I even review things to begin with. I never had this problem, not once. I heard about Frey's writing style; how different and refreshing it is - I was interested. From the get-go, I basically treated the book as fiction. Sure, after it was over, I was a little curious as to what was "real" and what was "heightened" or "imagined" and I did some research. I was a little disappointed but it didn't change the effect the book had on me, I still loved it either way.

I really felt for Frey's situation. Granted, it's all self inflicted and given my stance on drugs and alcohol, I rarely am able to show sympathy for anyone who makes that life choice. With Frey - or at least Frey's version of himself - you can really tell that deep down inside, he's a nice guy and you find yourself pulling for him from the very start. Frey has a way with writing about hostility and anger that you find yourself anxious for what's going to happen next - you keep waiting for people to loose their cool. This kind of writing makes the book hard to put down.

Also posted at Every Read Thing

** This may be one of the only books I can simultaneously place on both the fiction and non-fiction shelf.
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Quotes Brandon Liked

James Frey
“Sometimes skulls are thick. Sometimes hearts are vacant. Sometimes words don't work. ”
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

James Frey
“Addiction is a decision. An individual wants something, whatever that something is, and makes a desicion to get it. Once they have it, they make a decision to take it. If they take it too often, that process of decision making gets out of control, and if it gets far out of control, it becomes an addiction. At that point the decision is a difficult one to make, but it is still a decision. Do I or don't I. Am I going to take or am I not going to waste my life or am I going to say no and try and stay sober and be a decent person. It is a decision. Each and every time. A decision. String enough of those decisions together and you set a course and you set a standard of living. Addict or human. Genetics do not make that call. They are just an excuse. They allow people to say it wasn't my fault I am genetically predisposed. It wasn't my fault I was programmed from day one. It wasn't my fault I didn't have any say in the matter. Bullshit. Fuck that bullshit. There is always a decision. Take responsibility for it. Addict or human. It's a fucking decision. Each and every time.”
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Reading Progress

August 1, 2009 – Started Reading
August 1, 2009 – Finished Reading
January 27, 2010 – Shelved
May 12, 2010 – Shelved as: favorites
August 19, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction
November 15, 2010 – Shelved as: 2009
February 11, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction

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