Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vacation Book Report #3

A Million Little Pieces (2003) by James Frey

0 (nil, nada, nothing, zero, zilch) out of five

I was aware of the controversy about this book, that the author sold it as a nonfiction account of his six weeks in rehab, but much of it was either totally aggrandized or completely made up. It was on the shelf here in the library so I read it. What a piece of crap. The guy makes himself the hero of his own rehab. Despite having succumbed to the terror of what he calls "The Fury", the rage that rules his life and sends him careening down the road of addiction from age 10 to age 23, suddenly in rehab he becomes all Mr. New-age, Tao-Te-Ching-reading, stand-up tough guy who irrevocably quits drugs and alcohol by sheer willpower alone, eschewing AA. Right. The conceit became larger as the book went on and he went from vomiting scumbag to righteous saviour of others.

Frey writes in a very stylized way. Every paragraph (many of which contain only a word, or a sentence) is left-adjusted. There is no punctuation other than periods, and many sentences would be marked as "run-on" by a sixth-grade teacher. There is a breathless quality to the whole book which makes me see how Oprah could have been conned. Read The Smoking Gun's take-down for the truth of Frey's little memoir.

Now that I've read it, I want my six hours back.

On to the next book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although it was not widely publicized at the time, James Frey went on to become Director of the Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, under Paul Bremer. He was thought to be somewhat overqualified for the post, since he stated in his interview that he had voted for President Bush six times, but he was by far the most qualified American available.