countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more vpcflyout Home All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports Tools Registry

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
343
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$11.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on January 27, 2004
What's missing from this memoir of "recovery" is a sense that the protagonist anti-hero made any sort of recovery from his additions at all.He is still a volatile , angry, blaming , controlling manipulative wrtetched jerk - or is there something I am missing- perhaps in the sequel we will see something positive emerge? That will be the recovery tome, not this. Are the graphic tales of the pain he went thorough supposed to endear us to him?Ick. There is simply nothing likeable about this man- sober or straight.His endless lists of all the people he has hurt in the myriad of ways from early childhood almost makes me think that he might be a clinically cerified sociopath.. So happy not to have met him! There is no compassion, warmth, joy, or anything positive - no light at the end of the tunnnel at all.
I couldn't understand his grand mal confession at the very end- pure murderous rage- and follow through, provoked by an unasked for hand on his knee.As if we didn't understand already that he "did some pretty bad things". Yeah- he bad- but who cares?
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 15, 2004
BOOK REVIEW: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
You Can't Judge This Book by Its Cover
That's right. The best component of James Frey's autobiographical novel is the cover. A great cover. One of the best book covers I have seen in years - it really catches your eye, it really draws you in. The insert flap is semi-interesting (probably because it was not written by Frey himself), not original, but good enough to pique your interest and see what it is all about. The problem comes when you open it.
The prose - I hope - is meant to be intentionally simple. Simple with short sentences that cry to hit home, but this Frey is no Hemingway. No, just about every word does not feel authentic, but over done, over cooked, over zealous, trying too hard - DO YOU GET THE POINT? Absolutely as dramatic as they come; and although I may not be a professional writer, I am an alcoholic, so I semi-know of where I speak. As an alcoholic, the only thing I did enjoy was Frey's staunch opposition to Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Step Recovery Program (Lord, knows that quasi-cult-new religion for the 20th/21st century needs to go or at least come healthy competition - but it works if you work it right; sorry, to get off topic). It is sad that I have to doubt the author's prowess; that he so readily (over dramatically, of course) boasts of it, as if it was the only thing he was ever good at in life. I am probably way off base, but I am skeptical that he consumed as much drugs and alcohol as he did, and that he has done as much internal damage to as many organs as he claims. Who knows if this is dramatic license or not?
Although what I do know about the protagonist, the author himself, is that he is a completely unlikable, snot nose brat with rich, but loving and concerned parents and this 23 year old punk, old enough to know better, appears to be unmoved by their sacrificing. So painfully dramatic when it comes to scenes with his parent's I almost needed to put the book down and watch a soap opera on the Soap Channel instead...really. He: DOES NOT WANT TO SEE THEM - oh, poor baby is ashamed, and numb and emotionless, and sadly, it all feels unauthentic - done for effect.
For the most part, what can be said of Frey is that he is one hell of a jerk to almost everyone he encounters. Just about the entire autobiography takes place in a rehab clinic. During his stay, Frey is unnecessarily rude to just about everyone, (Yeah, yeah we get you, your angry, withdrawing, hating yourself, blah, blah, blah.) except for a retired mafia guy (who will be played by Danny Aiello if there is ever a film adaptation), and some ex-prostitute whom the clinic forbids him to speak to, (keeping with the men to the men, women to the women - the famous 12 Step/AA philosophy for new people in recovery). And the book goes on, and on, stubborn young man routine just rolls on and collects much moss as it rolls. A complete drag - humorless, less than insightful, and it is better off left to collect dust in the recovery section of the bookstores.
Incidentally, the audio addition is far, far, worse, having been read in this annoyingly urgent phony voice by some no name actor who lives in Los Angeles. So bad, in fact that the compact disks themselves might jump out of your cd player and run to the nearest bar or crack house to dull the pain of their abridged (thank God) audio book existence.
But damn, what a great cover - designers Rodrigo Corral and Christopher Marble are the only ones who deserve the praise in this one.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 9, 2003
Stylistically awful, kind of pretend-punchy Hemmingway meets Elmore Leonard (but without the talent), with the most irritating syntax and repetition. Market-driven drivel, really. The narrator comes across as a brat. There's no interior subtlety. No real inner world beyond the self-obsessed, self-indulgent anger that drives the narrative. It becomes pretty indigestible by half-way through. I noticed Nan Talese is thanked in the acknowledgements. I guess everyone is entitled to a bad day. Or that even good editors will sell out if the market looks like it gives a green light. This book stinks of the quick buck. Anyway there's nothing it's going to add to the sum total of the world's literature. Bet you any money this Bile Brat-Boy can't come up with a second novel that's any better. (And if the book really is true, it's hard to believe this guy hasn't relapsed by now -- which, one imagines, would make it hard to even get that second novel started.)
Who the hell made the decision to left-justify all the paragraphs? It's an unspeakably annoying habit. Is this the new in-house signal for "groovy cutting edge" in publishing?
I give the book one star, in a sense because the hilariously bad ending, when Frey "Just Says No", is such a classic of bad literature and is worth reading for a belly laugh. But you could do that standing in the bookshop. Try and imagine the Hollywood violins, amping up the emotions, in this scene in the film version of this book, which you can be sure will follow.
If you want the real goods, a truly beautiful masterpiece on the addicted soul, I suggest "Candy" by Luke Davies is the one to read. It's an extraordinary and moving book. Deeply affecting, and we identify deeply, even those of us who have no experience of addiction. There's nothing really "moving" about Frey's limp memoir.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 3, 2003
Let me admit, at the outset, that I haven't read James Frey's A Million Little Pieces in its entirety. I feel that when one reads a book, you enter into a sort of contract with the author to read it in its entirety, if that is how it's meant to be read, as novels are. However, I found this book to be unreadable. It's not that it was boring or that the plot didn't move forward or that the characters were unbelievable, although all these things are true. Every time I sat down to read this book, I found myself actually feeling embarrased for the author.
This is a book about addiction. I began reading it because I recently read Infinite Jest, another book about addiciton and one of the most fascinating and poignant books I've ever read. However, in A Million Little Pieces, James Frey's major failing is his inability to convey the complexity and subtleties of addicts' personalities and behaviours. All the addicts I encountered in this book were cliches. The dialogue was trite. And frankly, I don't give a damn how it ends.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 2003
As an ex drug abuser,and as a writer, I've never been so offended or enraged by a book. Pretentious, overblown, self indulgent, lazy writing and patently, proveably false "confessional" It is loathsome beyond words to try and foist these ludcrously predictable characters and stale plot developments on the public as the "real" experiences of a recovering addict in Hazelden. If it really happened--how come every plot twist: the crackhead girfriend found with old man--the gangster with heart of gold and judge help out the hero for comfy plot resolution--for example-- telegraph themselves miles ahead--like a "very special episode" of Friends. And notice the sketchy--almost casual reference to"records being expunged"...and the shying away from the basic proveable biographical elements of the author's life. Notice that the author--though supposedly downing quarts of booze, fistfuls of crack--and incredibly, GLUE and GASOLINE, manages to graduate from college, spend a year abroad, keep his friends, and support himself. The supposedly badass hero will have us believe he intimidates and faces down everybody who gets in his face. Always ready to get all Eastwood. Yet he's laughably tiny in real life--and curiously devoid of scarring from the huge wound in his cheek the book opens with.There are holes in this story you could fit an MX missile through. And the sentences are bad. Judith Krantz bad. The fact that they are lined up like "poetry" don't make them any better. I hope some of his "classmates" at Hazelden decide to blab--or that someone chooses to look deeper into the story--as they did with Caracaterra's SLEEPERS. Should make really interesting reading. Nice to know Minneapolis has such a thriving drug district right by the station, too. Author boy seems to have avoided needle drugs and lead-related brain damage nicely as well.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 22, 2003
After finishing this book last night and feeling totally underwhelmed, I was curious to read what others are saying about it on Amazon. After perusing the customer reviews, it's clear that the majority of readers are having the same reaction to the book as I had. Why is this book receiving such praise? The writing itself is workmanlike and stilted. There is not one sentence I read that captured my imagination or impressed me. If we are speaking soley about skill, Frey seems to be lacking "chops." Indeed, it seems he's relying on formatting rather than the art of words to make his book special. Frankly, if you have to resort to wacky formatting, it might be a sign that you need a crutch. It certainly didn't enhance the reading experience or seem to have much of a purpose. Instead, it constantly took me out of the story. I wonder if the prose was forced to stand on its own the book would be receiving such unrestrained accolades. Furthermore, there is the issue of plot. I understand this is supposed to be a "true" story, but if it is, then Frey was living in the land of shopworn cliches: the hooker with the heart of gold, the loveable mobster who takes Frey under his wing, the DRAMATIC confrontation with a glass of liquor at the end. If this book were a work of fiction, would critics note these banalities? Overall, I would say this is a poorly written book with a predictable and tedious story and characters who seem lifted from a bad Hollywood movie about addicts. Before reading this book, I read DRY by Augusten Burroughs. If you want to read an original, funny and genuinely moving book about time in rehab, I would suggest you pass by A MILLION LITTLE PIECES and check out DRY.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 4, 2003
The book "A Million Little Pieces" is definitely unique, but that does not make it a great book; nor even a good read.
The irrational use of grammar and punctuation signaled to me on the first page that the author was hiding something and fifty pages in, my suspicious were confirmed.
From the characters, not real people that he writes about; to the anger that he has yet to come to grips with; it all seems that he still really misses drinking and doesn't want to admit it.
An author can be one-sided as Mr. Frey is; the only thing that I got by trying to read this book is that (as Mr. Frey would say):
There is only one Way to live. Everyone else is wrong. They are wrong. I am right. I talked to someone and they told me how to live. I said no that you are wrong.
That is totally acceptable, but being angry at not being able to control yourself is something that he has to deal with, not me.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 15, 2003
This is the type of book Vin Diesel would write if you gave him a dictaphone and a pot of coffee.
Dear James Frey: The sound you hear coming from the pages of David Foster Wallace is not bells and whistles, but what hard work and intelligence sounds like to the tone deaf.
James Frey has said that his next novel is going to be about Jesus, which is fitting, since Frey, much like Jesus before him, lives in a Tribeca loft and wrote the David Schwimmer movie 'Kissing a Fool.'
Instead of wasting twenty-five dollars on A Million Little Pieces, go to your local library and borrow Wallace's Infinite Jest. Read the passages that focus on Don Gately.
Those who can't let their work speak for itself hire a publicist.
James Frey, meet Elizabeth Wurtzel. Maybe when they make a movie out of your life you can star as yourself.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 15, 2003
This is the type of book Vin Diesel would write if you gave him a dictaphone and a pot of coffee.
Dear James Frey: The sound you hear coming from the pages of David Foster Wallace is not bells and whistles, but what hard work and intelligence sounds like to the tone deaf.
James Frey has said that his next novel is going to be about Jesus, which is fitting, since Frey, much like Jesus before him, lives in a Tribeca loft and wrote the David Schwimmer movie 'Kissing a Fool.'
Instead of wasting twenty-five dollars on A Million Little Pieces, go to your local library and borrow Wallace's Infinite Jest. Read the passages that focus on Don Gately.
Those who can't let their work speak for itself hire a publicist.
James Frey, meet Elizabeth Wurtzel. Maybe when they make a movie out of your life you can star as yourself.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 2006
I think that Frey did a masterful job of sucking almost everyone in to thinking they were buying a factual and autobiographical account of his addiction recovery process. I bet we will see some copy-cats in the very near future as it has been a very successful ploy to sell a book, that as a work of fiction would not even have made a ripple. When I read this book a couple of months ago, I told other people who were raving about it, to take it with a grain of salt. I did read the whole thing, but felt I was sitting in on a long-winded conversation with an egotistical blow-hard. The reviews from 'The Smoking Gun' that CNN is now headlining only confirm my view. If you REALLY want to read this book, borrow it from someone so this author doesn't make anymore money on this hoax.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse