A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little Pieces

Book - 2004
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A story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.

By the time he entered a drug and alcohol treatment facility, James Frey had taken his addictions to near-deadly extremes. He had so thoroughly ravaged his body that the facilityís doctors were shocked he was still alive. The ensuing torments of detoxification and withdrawal, and the never-ending urge to use chemicals, are captured with a vitality and directness that recalls the seminal eye-opening power of William Burroughsís Junky.

But A Million Little Pieces refuses to fit any mold of drug literature. Inside the clinic, James is surrounded by patients as troubled as he is -- including a judge, a mobster, a one-time world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute to whom he is not allowed to speak ó but their friendship and advice strikes James as stronger and truer than the clinicís droning dogma of How to Recover. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions, and insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may become--which runs directly counter to his counselors' recipes for recovery.

James has to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he has lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he holds. It is this fight, told with the charismatic energy and power of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nes t, that is at the heart of A Million Little Pieces: the fight between one young manís will and the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion, the fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart.

A Million Little Pieces is an uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.

Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2004, 2003
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed. --
ISBN: 9780307276902
Branch Call Number: 362.29092/FRE


From the critics

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Aug 20, 2018

As others have said, fiction or nonfiction, this is a good book. It is a great way to better understand the cycle of being an addict and why most addicts relapse. Regardless of whether or not these things happened to Frey, these things do happen to addicts. This is the reality of being an addict. People find plot holes and criticize Frey for "lying" because they are uncomfortable with this reality. Those who think it's poorly written and appears unedited have never taken a literature class before. The style of the writing is symbolic and is completely lost on many readers. Please give this book an objective read and decide for yourself.

Jul 27, 2018

Love it or hate it, the polarity of opinions on James Frey's book are cleanly divided. I fall into the love camp and this was actually my second time reading this book. The first time was many years ago, but I remembered really enjoying the book so I gave it a second whirl and liked it just as much this time. Pick it up and read the first 50 pages to decide which camp you're in. I found it an immensely satisfying read, whether fiction or non.

SPPL_Violet Mar 26, 2018

This whole Oprah hullabaloo was blown way out of proportion, wouldn't you agree? Show me any auto-biography/memoir, and I'll show you a polished...what's the phrase? Come on...just read it for the story. Who care if it was real? This whole ordeal, though, did teach me one thing. Never mess with the queen of daytime.

Jan 02, 2018

Regardless of whether or not this story is "true" the impact of the writing style and the no holds barred descriptions of out-of-control addiction are worth experiencing -- especially when taking the reader into his or hers own shadows. Anyone can benefit by taking on the author's demands on himself to be held fully accountable for the person he is and the person he may become. Owning your mistakes, forgiving yourself and others, learning to let go while holding on, are keys to being able to truly, and peacefully, look yourself in the eyes.

Nov 19, 2017

Before I go into my review, I'll warn you that I did not finish this book. I read it up to page 32, and I honestly don't know if I should even be rating this book right now. But, you know what? The writing itself is worth one star.

The sentence structure is very annoying, and the constant word repetition is thrown at you. Like, THROWN at you. I could not stand it.

The beginning is super confusing and not necessarily because it's interesting. For example, the short quotes and "dialogue" make it extremely redundant, boring, and meaningless. I felt like I was actually wasting my time.

The fact that most of this story was made up is just a whole other problem. I didn't even know about this while reading, and now that I've learned about this, I feel truly disappointed that an author would label a fictitious story as his memoir.

This review might have just been from a moody phase in my life, but I just don't have the patience to complete it. Also, I don't want to be reading about vomiting, pills, and addiction for, like, 2 hours. So, just don't trust me.

Sep 07, 2016

While I remember the poop-show that went down after it turned out that James Frey's best-selling addiction and recovery memoir was partially fabricated, I had little to no interest in actually reading it. It seemed less a big deal that he'd embellished here and there than that he'd pissed off Oprah, the most powerful woman in television. Rarely did I actually hear anyone discuss the merits of the book, although there's a hilariously inaccurate quote from New York Press "Can Frey be the greatest writer of his generation? Maybe?" He wasn't even the greatest writer of that week in 2006 when everyone knew who he was. I kinda hate memoirs about addiction, so this book was not for me. Aside from that, it's terribly written and, at over 400 pages, way too long. His lack of of quotation marks and indented paragraphs is a stylistic tic that just draws attention to how little there is here. Frey continued to write, but has also founded a company focused on young adult fiction that has been trying to churn out the next "Twilight." Anyway, this book is so terrible that you probably should read it as a palette cleanser. This edition has a tiny disclaimer that reads "This book is a combination of facts about James Frey's life and certain embellishments."

Aug 18, 2015

Whether you believe him or not, great book

Pygmy_G Jun 05, 2015

To be fair, I didn't read the whole book, but that was because I disliked the writing so intensely. It seemed completely unedited. The writer does something I really hate: randomly capitalize words. There are many memoirs of addiction & recovery out there; I moved onto stuff that offers both style and substance.

Kinderusya Apr 28, 2015

Read AFTER "My friend Leonard"

Jul 10, 2014

While this is a good story that I could see being turned into a miniseries, it is very choppy to read. There are no quotation marks (therefore conversations and speakers are difficult to identify from thoughts and actions) and the majority of the book is very repetitive-- especially for a 400+ page book.

However, there are some great morals and philosophies in this book. A controversial memoir, Frey displays his growth as a person/ character over the course of a few weeks, and that change is remarkable. Additionally, the people he may or may not have actually met along the way, especially Leonard and Lilly, are very lovable people.

Just be aware that this is the story of addiction, so it ends bittersweet.

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Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jul 10, 2014

gage2010 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

booksrock97 May 19, 2013

booksrock97 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 99

darlinglauren22 Aug 23, 2011

darlinglauren22 thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over

Karen54321 May 04, 2011

Karen54321 thinks this title is suitable for 19 years and over


Add Notices
Karen54321 May 04, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Karen54321 May 04, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

waitingforeternity Mar 29, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

waitingforeternity Mar 29, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


Add a Quote
Nov 19, 2017

"The Young Man came to the Old Man seeking counsel.
I broke something, Old Man.
How badly is it broken?
It's in a million little pieces.
I'm afraid I can't help you.
There's nothing you can do.
It can't be fixed.
It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces."
(This intro couldn't be any more cliché lol)

Karen54321 May 04, 2011

"Sometimes skulls are thick. Sometimes hearts are vacant. Sometimes words don't work. "
— James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)


Add a Summary
Oct 25, 2011

It was pretty interesting to read, but it was painful to read at some parts.

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