corner corner A Million Little Pieces (Oprah's Book Club)

Medium

A Million Little Pieces (Oprah's Book Club)
by James frey | Literature & Fiction
Registered by amymaew of Worland, Wyoming USA on Friday, September 30, 2005
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by amymaew): reserved


9 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by amymaew from Worland, Wyoming USA on Friday, September 30, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Amazon.com
The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment center where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonizing months of detox confronting "The Fury" head on:

I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.
One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a former championship boxer, and a mobster (who, upon his release, throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

The rage-fueled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons
 


Journal Entry 2 by amymaew from Worland, Wyoming USA on Tuesday, October 04, 2005

8 out of 10

I liked this book. It wasn't amazing one of my top ten good, but it was pretty good. It was a bit hard to follow once in a while because he didn't really indicate who was talking when during the conversations, but other than that I liked it :). Reserved for a bookring. 


Journal Entry 3 by amymaew from Worland, Wyoming USA on Tuesday, October 04, 2005

10 out of 10

Bookring time! This book is going out in a bookring. Please try to read it as soon as you get it (it's fine if you need to finish something else first, but please don't put it on the bottom of a 500 book high TBR pile!!). Once you're almost done, pm the person after you for their address so you can ship it out when you finish. Finally, enjoy! It's a good book :). If you'd like to join the bookring and you're not listed here, just pm me and I'll fit you in. Thanks! Here's the list:

1. snowy652 - Canada, intl OK
2. GrannyAnn - NY, US only
3. zeena666 - NY, US/Canada only
4. indygo88 - IN, int'l OK
5. Bigbird2002 - AZ, US only
6. silverstarry - CA, US only
7. AtHomeGoddess - CA, int'l OK
8. gkonkler5 - WY, int'l OK
9. titihood - Canada, Canada/US only
10. amambaw - Canada, int'l OK
11. baileybird - UK, int'l OK
12. bookmaniac70 - Bulgaria, int'l OK
12. argoitz - Portugal, int'l OK
13. kiwiwonder - New Zealand, prefers Aust./NZ
 


Journal Entry 4 by amymaew at bookring in bookring, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, October 07, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (10/7/2005 UTC) at bookring in bookring, Bookring -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sent off to snowy652 - enjoy!! 


Journal Entry 5 by snowy652 from Abbotsford, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This book has not been rated.

opened this up today -- thanks for including me in your ring. I have a couple to read before this but I am sure that it will be read in a readily fashion. I will make a journal entry when I have finished the book and record my thoughts 


Journal Entry 6 by snowy652 from Abbotsford, British Columbia Canada on Saturday, October 29, 2005

6 out of 10

In some ways I found this book a bit disappointing. I too had a difficult time at times, trying to figure out who was talking. I worked in a treatment center for 8 years as a counsellor and so I found it interesting to read what a clients stay can be like from their perspective. Over-all it was a good book and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read it.

Book is now being sent to GrannyAnn -- I hope that you enjoy the book!!! 


Journal Entry 7 by GrannyAnn from West Henrietta, New York USA on Thursday, November 10, 2005

This book has not been rated.

This book was waiting for me when I got home from work today. I'm reading another bookring and I'll start this as soon as I'm done. Thanks,snowy652, for sending it on and for the bookmark. I love the sentiment! Thanks for sharing this book, amymaew. 


Journal Entry 8 by GrannyAnn from West Henrietta, New York USA on Sunday, December 11, 2005

6 out of 10

This is a very unusual book. The story is complelling but the style is hard to get into. There's very little punctuation and the random capitalization is confusing. The story, though, is worth the difficulty in style. There are parts of the story that left me exhausted.

On to zeena666. Thanks, amymaew, for starting this ring. 


Journal Entry 9 by zeena666 from New York City, New York USA on Tuesday, December 20, 2005

6 out of 10

Just received this afternoon- will begin reading it tonight! :D Very excited!

EDIT 1/03/06: On page 32. Liking the minimalist style so far. Quick & to the point. Wondering if that will make it dull later on. We'll see.
EDIT 1/06/06: On page 76.
EDIT 1/16/06: On page 134. I am trying to read this as fast as I can! There has been some controversy since I last edited about some stuff in this book not ringing true. After the website The Smoking Gun revealed that they believed he was a liar, James Frey admitted on "Larry King Live" that about 5% of his memoir is fictional. Oprah called in basically to say, "If it's fictional, so what?" The definition of "memoir" is "an autobiography", isn't it? If some of his story isn't true, how can it be categorized as such? I was personally disappointed but will still keep reading, as I prefer it to Burroughs's writings about junkies.
EDIT 2/2/06: On page 222! Within the past week, James Frey has admitted on Oprah's show that he made a mistake lying about some events in his book.
EDIT 2/4/06: On page 292! Only 138 pages left to read. I have received the address of the next person on this bookring.
EDIT 2/11/06: On page 326.
EDIT 2/13/06: Done! At times the straightforward, matter-of-fact style of writing made the story drag but my interest increased within the last 200 pages. Despite that & all the brouhaha surrounding this book I still recommend giving it a read.

Off to Indygo88! 


Journal Entry 10 by zeena666 from New York City, New York USA on Tuesday, February 21, 2006

6 out of 10

Mailed off today to Indygo88! :D 


Journal Entry 11 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Saturday, February 25, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Received book today! I never really looked closely at the cover of this book until I received it today, although I've picked it up in the stores quite a few times. I didn't realize that was a hand on there, with candy sprinkles on it! How interesting! LOL

Gosh, I hate to even say this, but this book arrived at the end of a string of a bunch of bookring books I received this week, so it might be a little while until I get to it. Sorry! But I will be sure to post updates and get to it as soon as possible!

3/24/06 -- Starting book today. 


Journal Entry 12 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Wednesday, March 29, 2006

9 out of 10

I really had trouble putting this one down once I started. It's been a while since I've been so engrossed in a book. It was actually better than I expected. Yes, the lack of punctuation and quotes was confusing...trying to figure out who said what and if it was a thought or something said out loud. But once I put my mind past that, it really didn't bother me so much. Kind of made it seem more authentic. Despite the disturbing subject matter, I really enjoyed this book. Now I want to know more. I have a vague idea of the controversy surrounding the book, but I myself haven't actually read or seen any of the Oprah or Larry King confrontations (other than what friends & co-workers have told me they've seen and heard), so now I want to go exploring to get the scoop. I do think a memoir should be true to life, but on the other hand, a good story is a good story, and I think that's what this book was, whether it was fact or partially fiction.

Thank you, amymaew, for sharing! Bigbird2002 has asked to be skipped, and I already have silverstarry's address, so I will be shipping the book within the next day or two! 


Journal Entry 13 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Monday, April 10, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Just received this in the mail - can't wait to read it! 


Journal Entry 14 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Finally the Murphy's Law of bookrings hit me. I count myself lucky that I haven't been slammed like this before, but this bookring arrived in my mailbox in a week that brought three other rings. Whew! I finally had a chance to read this over the weekend and I was able to rip through it in about a day and a half and get it done before Easter dinner. Within the first two pages, the random capitalization was driving me crazy but once I got through another chapter or so, I didn't notice it as much. The writing and the story were very engrossing.

A word to the wise though: there is a lot of graphic description (mostly of bodily fluids), so if you are the kind of person who likes to read books during lunch, this is NOT the book for you!

He rejects the rehab center's insistence on doing a 12 Step program (AA), claiming he is strong enough to get sober on his own through sheer will power. While I admire the fact that he wants to take responsibility for his actions (choosing to do drugs) rather than blaming his genetics, he completely disregards the powerful psychological aspect of addiction, as well as the chemical addiction itself, instead choosing to believe that becoming sober is as simple as choosing not to be an addict. While that may have worked for him, I don't think it's fair to say all addicts are just to weak to kick their habits. I understand that AA is not for everyone, especially people who don't believe in a higher power, but going to the other end of the spectrum isn't the answer for everyone either.

One thing rang a little false for me at certain points in the book: the author seemed a little too something. Sometimes he was a touch too brave, other times a little too vulnerable. A few details seemed confusing or unlikely (flying to Paris after skipping bail, some of the characters were perfect stereotypes who happened to be conveniently present), but I chalked it up to hearing that he'd lied about some of the incidents in the book. I figured after all the publicity, I was unconsciously trying to find the exaggerations and lies. I purposely did not read the specifics of the author's debacle with Oprah before reading the book because I wanted to see how obvious they were. If you want to see exactly which parts he fabricated, The Smoking Gun has their investigation and interviews available.

After I read the book but before I read The Smoking Gun information, I thought well, even if he did exaggerate a few things and lie about not having anesthetic, this was still an interesting book about addiction, demons, and struggling to get sober. I'm normally a stickler for the rules and that includes a memoir being factual, but I was trying to look at the bigger picture. Then I read all the info at The Smoking Gun and saw that he'd lied about most of the pivotal details in his book (namely, his arrests and an incident in Paris). That made me question his integrity about the rest of his experience in rehab and most of the book.

Thanks so much to amymaew for sharing this book! I have wanted to read it for quite a while, and I was very excited when my boyfriend received it for Christmas - only to have his brother borrow it immediately! So far he hasn't returned it, so if not for this bookring it might have been quite a while before I had my boyfriend's copy to read. 


Journal Entry 15 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Mailed to AtHomeGoddess!

DC#: 0304 1070 0002 4159 6538

Per USPS.com book was delivered 4/20/06. 


Journal Entry 16 by AtHomeGoddess from Fresno, California USA on Monday, April 24, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Sorry I didn't make a journal entry sooner - I've been sick and off the computer. I will be starting this book in a couple of days. Can't Wait! 


Journal Entry 17 by AtHomeGoddess from Fresno, California USA on Saturday, May 06, 2006

9 out of 10

Wow.

This book is completely different from anything I've ever read. The style is like you are in his head, seeing and hearing everything he does. It doesn't flow smoothly, but it's so utterly truthful in it's style.

The story, while now surrounded in controversy, is full of ugly reality and beatuiful truths. It is an amazing story of abuse, hatred, recovery and redemption. Having had people in my life who have been through the same struggles as Frey, I could easily believe every word of this book. I found myself loving and hating Frey at the same time, just like you do a real friend who is struggling with addictions. While it took me awhile to read (I've had so little time lately!) I found the book hard to put down.

**Possible SPOILER ALERT** SKIP this if you want to. ; )

When James went into the house to find Lilly and bring her out, I was moved to tears. He put himself in the devils den and saw Lilly giving that guy a blow job and he didn't care. He didn't cave and he didn't judge, he just let love lead him. He let love give him strength and I so admired him for that. It was so sad and wonderful at the same time, I just could not contain my emotions.

This was an amazing read and I'm so glad I had the chance to read this book. I'll be sending it on to the next in line when I receive their mailing info. 


Journal Entry 18 by titihood on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

9 out of 10

Receieved today - I am in the middle of moving so am not sure when I'll get round to this, but should be soon. Am looking forward to finally reading this book that caused so much sensation! Am guessing gkonkler5 asked to be skipped as it has found its way to me :)
27/06/06: Just wanted to give a quick update - was house renovating then moved at the beginning of this month and am still living out of boxes... this book is in one of said cardboard monstrosities (I hate boxes by now). I will read it as soon as I find it!
04/08/06: Well I did find it and read it while on holiday. It certainly helped the journey go faster! I found the book very compelling and easy to read, although at times James did annoy me with his repetitiousness I was drawn to his character and problem. Regardless of the furor over this not really being a memoir, I think it is a good book that can help people realise how lucky they are. PMed person before me on the list over a week ago as book skipped them but have not received a reply yet so am going to PM person in front of me instead.
14/08/06: Am still waiting for responses to my PMs... If I don't get any in another week (maybe they are on holiday) I will PM baileybird...
30/08/06: baileybird already has book from another ring. PMing next BCer in line!
07/09/06: Sent to bookmaniac70 today, had to go surface I'm afraid but will get to you in the end! 


Journal Entry 19 by wingbookmaniac70wing from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Monday, October 30, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Book arrived safely,thanks for sending! Will try to get reading ASAP! 


Journal Entry 20 by wingbookmaniac70wing from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Sunday, November 05, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Started reading. The book got me hooked from the first sentence. I think it`s going to be a fashinating read! 


Journal Entry 21 by wingbookmaniac70wing from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I finished the book yesterday.I had no problems with the style which,with a few exceptions,I liked. It was unusual,intoxicating,vulgar,and a bit depressing. It was my first read about addiction. I think some aspects of it were very well and vividly described,for example,the feeling of Fury,which the writer seems to experience quite often, and also the urge to inflict pain on himself. The love story with Lilly was beautiful indeed. What I didn`t like about the book, was that the story seemed to me a little too much self-boasted. The characters,met in the rehab,were colourful but unrealistic. While I respect writer`s opinion that an addict should not blame anyone for his addiction and should not shove off responsibility for his decisions,the genetical and family issues do play a crucial part in drug and alchohol addiction,and cannot be viewed too lightly. Also, Frey`s strong will and miraculous resolve just "not to do it anymore" may be felt as an insult to many people struggling with addiction who have relapsed.

Of course,I read the article on "The Smoking Gun" website. I think the writer is an angry young fellow who had addiction problems,but not to the extent described in the book. He felt like he had a lot of experience to tell and he wanted to portray himself as a hero. He exaggerated his criminal and abuse history, and also exaggerated the level of his addiction. So, it really poses a moral question about what is a non-fiction book and how much honesty is expected from someone who claims to write about himself. For me, the novel was interesting and absorbing. Of course,I wished I could rely 98% on the feelings and events described inside but finally,it didn`t make so much difference. Unfortunately,I don`t think that James Frey has the potential to create other novels of quality.For me it`s one of those "one bestseller" cases and when he uses the addiction topic to its full,I don`t know what else he is able to write about.

All this said,I am glad I had the opportunity to read "A Million Pieces". 


Journal Entry 22 by wingbookmaniac70wing from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Saturday, November 18, 2006

This book has not been rated.

For the moment I have no responce from argoitz. I just sent a second message. 


Journal Entry 23 by wingbookmaniac70wing from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Argoitz asked to be skipped as he/she already read the book with nother bookring. I`m going to PM kiwiwonder now.

Update: Kiwiwonder has a notice on her profile that she has a newborn child and asks to be skipped from any bookring or ray.I`m going to PM the owner of the ring again. 


Journal Entry 24 by wingbookmaniac70wing at by surface mail in returned to owner, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, November 23, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Released 7 yrs ago (11/23/2006 UTC) at by surface mail in returned to owner, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sent back to owner. 


Journal Entry 25 by amymaew from Worland, Wyoming USA on Friday, December 15, 2006

This book has not been rated.

It's back! It's actually been back for a while, but I had a baby and got a bit distracted. Thanks everyone :) 




Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.