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Sunday, November 07, 2004 :::

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Why I read it: It was reviewed well and I was at the airport. I always feel compelled to buy books at the airport.

What I think about it: I think you can pretty much safely say that I'll never be an alcoholic or a crack addict. And you can thank my reading material this year for that. First there was Dry, by Augusten Burroughs, which although funny, doesn't make rehab sound like a picnic in hospital clothes or anything like that. And now there is this book, which drops the funny and goes straight for the harrowing hideous bottomless depths of depravity. James Frey's memoirs are vivid and devastating, and honestly lacking in any sort of uplifting sentimentality. He's a drug addict just because he is. He's an angry twentysomething just because he doesn't know how else to act. There's no excuses or cheap psychology to explain it. But his recovery is enthralling. Well, more educational than entertaining, really, but worthwhile nonetheless. And the coda, which summarizes the eventual outcomes of all the main characters, doesn't let the reader off the hook either. The author could use an editor, because his stream-of-consciousness writing style can be a little long-winded and repetitive at times, and his I'm-a-tough-guy persona got on my nerves more than once, but you gotta give the guy credit for creating such a visceral experience. Crack is whack, yo.

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::: posted by dan at 10:33 PM :: #


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