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A Million Little Pieces | [James Frey]

A Million Little Pieces

By the time James Frey enters a drug and alcohol treatment facility, he has so thoroughly ravaged his body that the doctors are shocked he is still alive. Inside the clinic, he is surrounded by patients as troubled as he: a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute. To James, their friendship and advice seem stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recover.
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Publisher's Summary

By the time James Frey enters a drug and alcohol treatment facility, he has so thoroughly ravaged his body that the doctors are shocked he is still alive. Inside the clinic, he is surrounded by patients as troubled as he: a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute. To James, their friendship and advice seem stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recover.

James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions. He insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may become, which he feels runs counter to his counselor's recipes for recovery. He must fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart. And he must battle the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion.

An uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and reconstructed, and a provocative alternative understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery, A Million Little Pieces marks the debut of a bold and talented literary voice.

*In January 2006, the author and publisher of this title acknowledged that a number of facts had been altered and incidents embellished.

Find out what life is like for James Frey post-rehab; make his second memoir, My Friend Leonard, your next listen.
Or check out more selections from Oprah's Book Club.

©2003 James Frey; (P)2003 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"A Million Little Pieces is this generation's most comprehensive book about addiction: a heartbreaking memoir defined by its youthful tone and poetic honesty." (Bret Easton Ellis)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (737 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.4 (158 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.7 (152 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Heath Georgetown, TX, USA 10-28-05
    Heath Georgetown, TX, USA 10-28-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Great Book"

    This book has to be the best book that I have read, (listened to) in the past few years. The style of writing and storytelling is intense and grips you. The narrarator must be commended, exellent job of showing emotions with his voice. I can't wait to read the follow up title, "My Friend Leonard". Highly recommended for anyone who has dealt with addiction directly and indirectly.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet S. Bessemer Reno, Nevada 01-18-06
    Janet S. Bessemer Reno, Nevada 01-18-06 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
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    44
    10
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    Overall
    "disappointing"

    Even prior to recent bad publicity (isn't all publicity good publicity?) I found this book to be a major disappointment. The text is a series of improbabilities stacked upon improbabilities in a repetitive "rant". I was frequently distracted by the "over dramatized" narration. I have been sober for over 18 years and I didn't see any "recovery" in this book at all. Even if the book is viewed in its entirety as a work of fiction it remains a complete disappointment to me: it is some of the worst fiction I have ever read. Every now and then a book of which much is made turns out to be "Emperor's New Clothes" and this clearly is such a book. Certainly it was a waste of my time and my money and I truly hope that others will save their time and money. How sad that yet another so-called 90-day wonder has reaped even a nickel from cashing in on the new Sobriety Chiq - if you are looking for a true view of addiction try attending some AA or Alanon meetings, something this author likely never did.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Newtown , PA, USA 12-01-05
    Patricia Newtown , PA, USA 12-01-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    8
    2
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    "My fury got to me. My fury got to me...etc."

    While this book might possibly be an interesting read, I hated the audio version. The unique literary "style?" does not do well for listening. The constant repetition can be glossed over while reading, but is extremely painful to listen to. The angst of the reader seems like a bad verbal acting job. If you must, read it yourself.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.Steven Modesto, CA, USA 11-23-05
    J.Steven Modesto, CA, USA 11-23-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    4
    4
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    "Not for me!!!"

    I cannot believe how fast this book's sales have risen and how terrible the book is. Sorry Oprah, But if this is typical of your best read list, Let me know...I will not buy anything else on it. This is an excercise in the author's ability to describe pain; period.
    It is repetitious to the max, which might be ok if it didn't stink.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert in Denver 07-19-07 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    55
    4
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    "Waste of time"

    Okay, so I knew about the controversy surrounding this book when I decided to download and listen. I wasn't too bothered that it was embellished and parts had been fabricated. Anyone who knows an addict should fully expect this.

    But, I thought with all the fanfare and rave reviews that this might be worthwhile for an addict such as myself. Maybe I would learn something more, or see something a different way, or at least see myself.

    What I got from this was something totally unrelatable to my own experience, not helpful, and even dangerous in its advocacy to do it your own way.

    Anyone who has ever been in 12 step knows that working your own program is going to lead to relapse. The type of addict Frey purports to be (and I'm not sure he even is) doesn't just will himself to stop. He even starts the book saying how he had never been able to do it on his own before. Suddenly he can. How? He "decides" to. Addicts I know who are recovering have completely surrendered and are willing to try anything, they don't thumb their nose at everything offered.

    Finally, I don't know how anyone ever believed that anything in this book could possibly be true. In particular, addicts should be able to smell this one coming from a mile away. If you want facts and something that works, pick up a blue book.

    I agree with a previous review. This is fiction, and not even good fiction.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick shell beach, CA, USA 01-12-06
    Rick shell beach, CA, USA 01-12-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    2
    1
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    "FICTION."

    oral surgery with no anasthesia? not even local?? do you think a Dr. would be able to do that..honestly?? This book is fake. All of it. Check out thesmokinggun.com if you don't believe me. 0 stars.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    273
    8
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    "Read better on the topic"

    It was less honest and more showy than other accounts of recovery from drugs ad alcohol. Yes, it's intense and dramatic, but also has some element who of a braggart not truly reformed by his experience.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Stillwater, OK, United States 01-24-06
    J Stillwater, OK, United States 01-24-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    80
    12
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    "Heads up"

    I know, who am I to go against Oprah??? But this was a rant of self-fulfilling proportions. It took him forever to move on. IF his story is unembellished, I'd be surprised. He lost me at curse word 5,672.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Memphis, TN, United States 12-20-05
    Thomas Memphis, TN, United States 12-20-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "A Million Little Incongruities"

    From its beginning with the surreal plane trip to the end, I find it impossible to believe most, if any, part of this fable is true. I plan to check many of the so-called "events" described in the book by looking into Mr. Frey's bio.. This is clearly fiction. Let's face it---being allowed on an airplane in the described state would be impossible even before 9-11. Two root canals while strapped in a dentist's chair at the onset of the rehab program. I find it impossible to believe that a local anesthetic would cause such a severe reaction that a rehab clinic couldn't allow it. And the cast of characers reads likes a bad Hollywood script. Judge, Mafiosa, Simon & Garfunkle's Boxer, the lovely little hooker, the "saved" who stay and work at the clinic.
    The entire story is so preposterous that I cannot believe people would buy into it. And the blurb from Bret Easton Ellis makes me think that HE may have been the real author. It reads like one of his worst works, if we can say one is worse than another, but uses a style so imitative that one has no choice but to think that the author either copied his style or tried to update "Bright Lights..." and transpose in into an incredibly morose melodrama.
    This book cries out: "Fact-checker needed."

    26 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Vermuth Collegeville, PA 01-16-06
    J. Vermuth Collegeville, PA 01-16-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    337
    7
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    "Fake!"

    I don't normally write reviews, but since all the news has come out about the book and the author, I feel compelled to relate a few of my observations.

    I listened to this book back in December. I was so annoyed with the author/protagonist at times that I was shouting out loud at him to knock off the crap.

    The receptiveness and style may read well on the page, but when listening, it is aggravating.

    It was hard to root for such a puffed up, stubborn, and self-important person.

    He has possibly hurt many poor souls who after reading his book may believe his nonsense about self-will being the solution over the 12 Steps to recovery from addiction.

    The assertion that Hazeldon wouldn't allow him to have anesthesia for his dental work is ludicrous and undoubtedly false. If not for Hazeldon's honoring of the 12 Traditions (one of which is to not engage in controversy), I am certain it would correct this falsehood.

    I regret that I supported this author.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
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