A Million Little Pieces by James Frey {Book Review}

I’m not a big fan of reading biographies and memoirs.

I can count on one hand all the biographies that I’ve read, and while many would say it’s beneficial to read them, I find them somewhat boring. So I’m pretty selective about choosing books from this genre.

I never heard of James Frey before reading his memoir about his struggles with addiction and his journey through treatment.

His other work, written under the pen name, Pittacus Lore (the pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Hughes) was I am Number Four, from which a film adaptation was released in 2011. He also has a couple of other books he’s written that haven’t been as famous as these two.

The memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was first published in 2003 and received mixed reviews. In 2005, the book was picked as an Oprah’s Book Club selection and not long after became the number one paperback non-fiction book on Amazon.com, and stayed on The New York Times Best Seller list for fifteen weeks.

 So you’d think if a memoir does that great amongst readers, it HAS to be good!

There was a film adaptation released in 2019.

Let’s talk about the book and what happens and then talk about the reaction to it (at the end of the post).

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book review: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey #bookreview

Plot:

James Frey shares his story about the his struggles with alcohol and other substance abuse and follows his journey through his twelve step rehabilitation.

The book starts off with Frey, 23 years old, being on an airplane with no recollection of how he got on it nor how he sustained his injuries. His parents meet him at the airport and take him to a rehabilitation clinic. Revelations about his substance abuse are shared as well as about him wanted by the police in different states on several charges.

The story then follows his recovery process, his painful experiences with dentist visits without the use of anaesthesia and his personal demons that he needs to conquer in order to complete his recovery.

The book also talks about the different people he meets at the clinic, with whom he forms relationships and who play an important role during his stay at the clinic as well his life after.

Frey recovers and never relapses again.

Overview:

The book is lengthy, ending on 511 pages.

It’s written in a very confusing manner with no separation between conversations and descriptions, so you need to keep track of exactly what is going on where in the moment. It’s written in present time and in first person. Some parts of the book, especially where Frey described the pain he had to endure, were heavy reading moments and you needed to kind of be in the right mindset to experience it.

The memoir dealt with serious issues concerning substance abuse and the difficulties he needed to face and overcome to conquer his addictions and change his life for the better. You feel for the guy, it can’t have been easy.

Some situations sounded completely unreal, as if you can’t imagine things getting that bad, especially for one individual. Reading this memoir did make you root for the Frey’s fight and his eventual success.

That being said, you can’t believe everything you read. A couple of months after the book was added to the Oprah’s Book Club selection, Smoking Gun published a post with evidence to show that some of the accounts in the book had been fabricated and altered. While the evidence they produced was first rejected by the publishing house, they added a note about the statements to later editions of the novel.

It was later changed from a memoir to a semi-fictional novel due to the literary forgery throughout the book.

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.65 on GoodReads. I gave it a 3. Had the story only contained factual accounts, it would’ve been a great account of someone’s struggles and recovery, and given the hell that Frey claimed he went through, it would’ve been an inspiration to others.

The false accounts and misguided information cost the book and the author a lot of credibility points.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey {Book Review} #bookreview

Have you read A Million Little Pieces?

You can purchase it here.

Do you have a book you want reviewed?
Send me an email: sincerelyyoursannie@gmail.com

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