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My Friend Leonard [Hardcover]

James Frey
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 21 2005
Perhaps the most unconventional and literally breathtaking father-son story you'll ever read, My Friend Leonard pulls you immediately and deeply into a relationship as unusual as it is inspiring.

The father figure is Leonard, the high-living, recovering coke addict "West Coast Director of a large Italian-American finance firm" (read: mobster) who helped to keep James Frey clean in A Million Little Pieces. The son is, of course, James, damaged perhaps beyond repair by years of crack and alcohol addiction-and by more than a few cruel tricks of fate.

James embarks on his post-rehab existence in Chicago emotionally devastated, broke, and afraid to get close to other people. But then Leonard comes back into his life, and everything changes. Leonard offers his "son" lucrative-if illegal and slightly dangerous-employment. He teaches James to enjoy life, sober, for the first time. He instructs him in the art of "living boldly," pushes him to pursue his passion for writing, and provides a watchful and supportive veil of protection under which James can get his life together. Both Leonard's and James's careers flourish . . . but then Leonard vanishes. When the reasons behind his mysterious absence are revealed, the book opens up in unexpected emotional ways.

My Friend Leonard showcases a brilliant and energetic young writer rising to important new challenges-displaying surprising warmth, humor, and maturity-without losing his intensity. This book proves that one of the most provocative literary voices of his generation is also one of the most emphatically human.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Frey achieves another stylistic coup as he develops a narrative thread begun in 2003's A Million Little Pieces. He chronicles his journey out of the terrifying darkness of addiction, and the friend he meets along the way, Leonard. A gangster, raconteur and mentor, Leonard was introduced in Pieces as one of Frey's new rehab friends. Here, he pushes Frey out into the world, pampering him one moment, giving him tough love the next. As in Pieces, Frey's style throughout is loose, untraditional yet perfectly crafted: "[Leonard] offered me his hand and said good, I'm fucked up too, and I like fucked-up people, let's sit and eat and see if we can be friends. I took his hand and I shook it and we sat down and we ate together and we became friends." There's something mesmerizing about the endless tumble of words, the nonstop spilling out of Frey's troubles and triumphs. In the hands of a less capable writer, all of this cool, tight narration might numb the reader and distance the experience. Instead, this book packs a full-body emotional wallop. Frey's eye is keen for detail: the inside of a county lockup; the flat, gray Chicago winter; an out-of-control Super Bowl party in Los Angeles; the grind of living day to day—all come alive in his sparse, powerful prose. At its core, this is an examination of a friendship. Frey's extraordinary relationship with Leonard is alive, a flesh-and-blood bond forged in the agony of rehab and sustained through honesty and trust. Agent, Kassie Evashevski at Brillstein/Grey Entertainment. (June)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Frey's first memoir, A Million Little Pieces (2003), chronicled his stint in rehab at age 23 after years of drug and alcohol addiction. That struggle continues in his follow-up, which opens at the end of Frey's three-month jail sentence. Upon release, Frey was hopeful: he was headed to Chicago to join the woman he fell in love with in rehab, Lilly, and start a new life. But devastating news awaited him in Chicago, and Frey found himself tempted to march into the nearest bar. He bought a bottle of cheap wine, which he managed not to open, and turned to his friend Leonard, a charming, gentlemanly mobster whom Frey met in rehab. Leonard thought of Frey as his son and was willing to do anything to help him. Leonard gave Frey a questionable but lucrative job delivering packages, and encouraged and bolstered Frey, until a personal secret caused Leonard to withdraw from his friends and associates. Never one to mince words, Frey lays bare even his most private and personal musings, making this a raw, often visceral, reading experience. With Frey's emotions so close to the surface, it's impossible not to care about Frey's struggles to reintegrate into society and prosper. Another powerful read from a talented, dynamic author. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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On my first day in jail, a three hundred pound man named Porterhouse hit me in the back of the head with a metal tray. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPASSIONED ! Aug. 5 2005
An impassioned and gripping writing style combined with raw emotional honesty creates a superior reading experience. Connecting the dots between addiction and friendship with manic bi-polar peaks and valleys, MY FRIEND LEONDARD is the best book I have read since MY FRACTURED LIFE. Part journey and part destination, MY FRIEND LEONARD is 100% gripping, 100% moving, and 100% real. Other recommendations: RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, MY FRACTURED LIFE, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, and THE GLASS CASTLE.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic read!! Nov. 26 2005
I hate to read books and James Frey keeps me wanting more. After finishing A Million Little Pieces I was upset to be done wanting to know so much more. Thankfully there was another!! This book was equally as good in my opinion, having finished the book in only 4 days. You can't help but feel for an individual having gone through so much sadness in this second book and still staying away from temptation. I would like to read a book by James now that he is a father. What would you teach your children?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Can Be Learned Oct. 30 2005
By A Customer
Much can be learned from this honest and forthright account of a life dealing with addictions. The stroy is enthralling and you are caught up in the whirlwind to fight off the addictions and see that the author becomes the winner. A very inspirational book similr in ways to that of Nightmares Echo and Smashed. Also one has to say that of course it has pieces of A Million Little Pieces as well as in parts like that of Running With Scissors. For a book that will blow you away with courage and determination read this book as well as those listed above.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip the Review and Buy the Book July 10 2005
If you have not already read "MY FRIEND LEONARD" stop reading this review and buy it. NOW! "MY FRIEND LEONARD" is as good as the very best anti-hero lit and memoires of our time. If you loved with a vengence "MY FRACTURED LIFE", "RUNNING WITH SCISSORS", "DRY", "BASKETBALL DIARIES", and "SMASHED" then hurry up and buy "MY FRIEND LEONARD." You will not regret it!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankly, I loved it March 9 2006
James Frey has a way of connecting with his readers like no other Author I have read before with the possible exception of Jackson McCrae ("Katzenjammer: Soon to be a major motion picture.") The new, much anticipated, fabulous "My Friend Leonard" could be anybody's life. Like "A Million Little Pieces," they are both so far on the outskirts of reality, yet speak to the masses in a relatable and character building matter. In his first publication James Frey stands up as the black sheep of his family with no apologies. This one however shows him peeling of the war scars of the past decade and crawling up out of his dank dark past to take on the real world with all that entails. "My Friend Leonard" was both touching and eye opening. Just when you think you know the conclusion, he throws you for a loop and displays a writer/friend anyone of his many admiring readers would be grateful to call their own. He did it with his first book and has done it with "Leonard". Throwing the sophomore curse out the window along with many of his past hang ups. James.... thank you for sharing your trip through the vacation spot we call friendship. You have made the bond of human spirits worth visiting, despite what the under current may decide to bring to the table. Must also highly recommend the novel "Katzenjammer" by McCrae and the novel/memoir "Dry" by Borroughs. It's all good. Enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Nov. 21 2006
This is an amazing story. Worth picking up and impossible to put down. I read it in less than 72 hours, which is a good timing for me considering my very busy schedule. On the negative side I do not like the new fashion of being "cool" by omitting punctuation and repeating words and phrases. I think literature should adhere to the old good rules of writing. On the other hand I am not bothered with Mr. Fray's recent unpopularity resulting form A Million Little Pieces affair... I liked both pieces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read! Aug. 20 2006
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think that this one was even better written than "A Million Little Pieces" was. But don't get me wrong - I loved that book too. I like the simple way James writes. He uses minimal punctuation and run-on sentences but some how the words just seem to flow. He seems to write how he would think. (People don't exactly think in sentences with proper punctuation).

There has been a lot of controversy around James Frey and "A Million Little Pieces." But who really cares? What he did was wrong. Yes, he should have wrote a disclaimer stating that not everything in the book happened the way he wrote about it. BUT- who's to say that hundreds, if not thousands of other authors haven't exagerated a little in their memoirs? Why center Frey out?

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I would have given it 5/5 but I got a little frusterated in the beginning of the book when things weren't explained clearly. Maybe it was his idea of suspense but it drove me nuts. I'm looking foward to seeing more from Frey. To me, a good story is a good story, no matter what.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another League July 18 2005
Author James Frey is blazing alternative to conventional writing. His off the cuff, hyperactive process perfectly presents the anxiety mindset he describes. It's so right-on accurate, I could only compare it to "Basketball Diaries" and "My Fractured Life." Even "A Million Little Pieces" didn't do as phenomenally perfect a job of capturing the mindset (and for the record I loved "A Million Little Pieces" and do recommend it. The emotional range that the writer covers and allows the reader to experience with him is a staggering shopping list of highs and lows. You will not be disappointed with this purchase. "My Friend Leonard" is ideal summer reading. Other summer reading: "A Million Little Pieces", "My Fractured Life", "The Basketball Diaries", "The Glass Castle", "A Long Way Down", and "Playground."
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've ever read!
A Million Little Pieces was incredible but this book blew me away, and its what really got me into reading. Love it!
Published 9 months ago by rrrachelray
5.0 out of 5 stars another one I couldn't put down!
I've only read a few book cover to cover and only two that kept me up past my bedtime; A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paulette
5.0 out of 5 stars great condition
Great condition.
Great book
And yes i will recommend
Already reading it a second time around now
The best book ever
Published 15 months ago by melissa cudney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sequal
Just as in James Frey's first book, A Million Little Pieces, I was able to get into his head and feel like I was a part of his life. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Marcie O'Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars My Friend Leonard [Hardcover]
The book came to me in very good condition. Completely new. I had to wait for the parcel a little longer than I thought but was worth it. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2011 by malgorzatas
1.0 out of 5 stars sequel to "a million littles lies"
how can you take anything this guy writes seriously? right at the start of the book he purports to be leaving prison after serving 3 months which we all now know is a complete... Read more
Published on March 6 2009 by philip freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing!
This book is amazing, it is beyond words. I highly recommend it. You will become drawn to it and find it hard to put the book down. A book filled with happy and sad tears. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2009 by Stiles
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I read it in less than 48 hours and couldn't put it down. Once again we fall in love with a new cast of flawed heros and watch James love and lose and persevere. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2007 by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book; quick read
This was a great book. Picking up from where A Million Little Pieces left off, this book does a nice job of closing off some of the lose ends from the first novel. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2006 by NorthVan Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten stars, please
Bought two books recently and loved them both.

First was McCrae's 'Katzenjammer' which I read in two days, then 'My Friend Leonard,' which I devoured in a few... Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2006 by ManCow
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