About 7 months ago, I was turned on to a little book called Million Little Pieces. I didn’t know what it was about except for one insanely high recommendation. So, totally based on this passionate plea, I decided to put it on my list of books to read.
Coincidentally just a couple of months later in September, Oprah decided that she was so addicted to this book that the author James Frey became her guest and this became one of the most popular books she’s ever put on her list.
So about a month later I found a cheap enough copy and for the rest of the year, I spent my bus rides to and from work reading a few pages at a time. So it took me literally 3 months to read it. If I was intent on reading it, I’m sure i could have finished it in one long sitting (it does have 430 pages!!).
What an unbelievable book.
Literally, unimaginably real and compelling.
For those who haven’t read it, I won’t spoil what it says but if you want to have a crazy experience, this book is definitely for you. Even if it was a complete work of fiction, there are still so many interesting and grasping things about this book that I could still recommend it as a great read.
Of the many issues it touched upon, the one I would like to focus on is the personality of the book and of James himself. This was most an autobiography, a work of non-fiction, however The Smoking Gun has a huge 6-page article debunking a lot of the extremities of what was written. I’m not sure that I believe James could have recounted every little, personal detail of what happened to him during that time, especially since it was written between 9-13 years after it took place. There are a lot of concepts and situations which are almost completely unbelievable but ones which James publicly swears by.
So, let’s take this out of the equation. The facts might be a little skewed or dramatized, but that’s not what matters.
James has a personality that only a few people I’ve ever met can truly, uniquely identify with. Most of us don’t understand the extreme nature of his logic, or how he can be so strong when most would be so weak. It’s not to say that he never fell, for as he explained throughout the book, his choices were a direct cause for his condition and he knew what he was doing with every choice. His decisions and actions were almost always based on a completely logical thinking, rationalizations which kept him in a life of drugs and alcohol as well as helping him throughout his recovery.
What really intrigued me about everything I read was how accurately his thoughts were written down. So often people try to express how they feel but with such failure. How do you properly express feelings and thoughts? His combination of simple dialogue and repetitive use of certain phrases and statements were a completely effective display of this emotion and thoughts. I can’t say that I identify with his drug use or alcoholism, but I know that the feelings he had for certain things, for certain people, for his parents, for those he liked, for those he hated, for the one he truly loved… all of these emotions seemed real. I could identify with the intensity.
It’s likely that the details of his story aren’t completely accurate, however I believe his recreation of everything else internal must have been easy. The feelings you have and build for people and things always stay with you. You never forget those things throughout your life and can always recall how you felt at a certain time or for certain people, and it was for this reason that I enjoyed this book so much.
Since this books initial publishment, there has been another book called My Friend Leonard and now a movie is set to be released late this year. The book is very graphic, contains a bunch of coarse language but truly is an amazing story.