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Bright Shiny Morning | [James Frey]

Bright Shiny Morning

One of the most celebrated and controversial authors in America delivers his first novel - a sweeping chronicle of contemporary Los Angeles that is bold, exhilarating, and utterly original. Dozens of characters pass across the reader's sight lines - some never to be seen again - but James Frey lingers on a handful of LA's lost souls and captures the dramatic narrative of their lives.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most celebrated and controversial authors in America delivers his first novel - a sweeping chronicle of contemporary Los Angeles that is bold, exhilarating, and utterly original.

Dozens of characters pass across the reader's sight lines - some never to be seen again - but James Frey lingers on a handful of L.A.'s lost souls and captures the dramatic narrative of their lives: a bright, ambitious young Mexican-American woman who allows her future to be undone by a moment of searing humiliation; a supremely narcissistic action-movie star whose passion for the unattainable object of his affection nearly destroys him; a couple, both 19 years old, who flee their suffocating hometown and struggle to survive on the fringes of the great city; and an aging Venice Beach alcoholic whose life is turned upside down when a meth-addled teenage girl shows up half-dead outside the restroom he calls home.

Throughout this strikingly powerful novel, there is the relentless drumbeat of the millions of other stories that, taken as a whole, describe a city, a culture, and an age. A dazzling tour de force, Bright Shiny Morning illuminates the joys, horrors, and unexpected fortunes of life and death in Los Angeles.

©2008 James Frey; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (135 )
5 star
 (45)
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 (33)
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3.7 (31 )
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4.1 (30 )
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  •  
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 05-17-08
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 05-17-08 Member Since 2006

    sewkrazy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Sooo Good"

    This is such good writing. I love this author. I forgive him that he wasn't an addict. Oprah, you need to rethink your anger towards him. Maybe he just got caught up in the moment.....the NOW. He is becoming one of our primo authors. I was born in LA. I got out of there. Frey shows the butt end of that community and it is true and not pretty. If you ask me this is a piece of work, and by the way, this reader gets my 5 star applause.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ty J Sausalito, CA United States 02-03-09
    Ty J Sausalito, CA United States 02-03-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Love the writer, not the book"

    While this book was interesting and he does a great job of developing characters that hold your interest the book was sub par. The person who actually did the reading of the book gets a 10... great job really.

    - Too many characters to follow and not enough content about the characters. Just when the characters are built and are interesting to you they disappear.

    - Not sure what was up with all the weird music breaks but it seemed like senseless filler to me

    - The facts about L.A. and the lists he read were horrible and mostly boring distractions from the stories of the characters. I found myself fast forwarding through these parts after listening to half of the book.

    I was left feeling empty and unfulfilled by the book... like there was more to say about these characters but with all the other stuff jammed in there just wasn't time.

    Had potential but in my opinion it lost out.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anastasia Burke California 06-13-08
    Anastasia Burke California 06-13-08 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    621
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    139
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    153
    2
    Overall
    "Brillaintly written, brilliantly narrated"

    After falling in love with "A Million Little Pieces" James Frey's debut "memoir," I feared that his oh-so-public fall from grace would mean this innovative voice of contemporary American letters would be silenced forever.

    But Frey has proven with "Bright, Shiny Morning" that his talent was no fluke. In fact, I liked this book even better than his two previous works.

    "Bright, Shiny Morning" brings to life a cast of Los Angelenos--the beautiful and the damned, which in this novel, are often qaulities infused in the same character.

    Frey takes us deep inside the warped psyche of the offensively rich, sickeningly self-absorbed Hollywood magastar--and then to the clever, humble Mexican American maid who fakes an accent so her wealthy, sadistic employer can feel superior. My heart was completely involved with the young couple who left abusive Midwest lives behind to find something better in LA. And he presents a sympathetic portrait of life on the streets of Venice, where homeless people eek out a living next to million dollar bungalows.

    "Bright, Shiny Morning" yields up deeply crafted characters that put a heart and soul to those living in the ultimate soul-less city.

    A note on narrator Ben Foster: As a legally blind person who is also a voracious consumer of books, I often feel at the mercy of marrators. A bad narration can ruin a great book. But Ben Foster was the perfect choice to bring this book to audio life. I loved his interpretation of the various characters' voices and the sardonic verve with which he infused Frey's jaded look at the land of big dreams. Simply brilliant narration.

    I highly recommend this book. If you want to hear something cutting edge in literature--this is your book.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Huntley, IL, USA 06-16-08
    Christina Huntley, IL, USA 06-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "I used to like James Frey's books......"

    until I read Bright Shiny Morning. There are 4 thinly veiled stories that are intertwined with too much needless information. This audiobook was painful to get through. I wish he would have developed the stories in more depth. I feel like they could have been interesting, had we gotten to know those characters more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario Soto Santa Clarita, CA 11-14-08
    Mario Soto Santa Clarita, CA 11-14-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    78
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "The book of lists!"

    Probably the most frustrating book I read. At times, when the author allowed himself define his characters, they were riveting! The problem is, way too many characters.. most of which disappear the moment they get interesting! Then there's the "lists"...OMG! He goes on and on with lists, for what seems like half the book, JUST READING LISTS!!! Shoot me now! If it weren't for the tease of the great character stories, I would have dropped the story midway... but I kept on wanting more from the characters... unfortunately, most often I was left disappointed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Hahn Ballwin, Missouri United States 10-22-08
    Jennifer Hahn Ballwin, Missouri United States 10-22-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Crazy, inappropriate music"

    I liked (not loved, but liked) the book, but what was the deal with the awful music breaks? Sometimes they were at the chapter breaks and sometimes they were right in the middle of everything. It was MOST annoying....was that some sort of mistake in production?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee sacramento, CA, USA 06-07-08
    Renee sacramento, CA, USA 06-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "What Happened"

    i read his other two books and loved them even if he lied i found them hard to put down. This one was quite awful. the reader is angry and crazy reading facts that noone cares about. i took a long time to get through it. and wasted credits. If he writes another book I think I will think twice about getting it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leona Annandale, VA, USA 06-17-10
    Leona Annandale, VA, USA 06-17-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    163
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "Couldn't Stop Listening"

    I purchased this book by mistake having confused it with A Bright Shining Lie. Initially I was disappointed as this really isn't the kind of book in which I'd normally be interested, but there I was on a long trip with this book in my iPod so I started listening. Before I knew it I couldn't tear myself away. I quickly became wrapped up in the lives of each of the different characters and almost two years later something will remind of the book and the memory of it is still vivid - which as forgetfully as I am - is truly amazing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica San Diego, CA, United States 05-30-08
    Erica San Diego, CA, United States 05-30-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Cruel Joke"

    Contrary to Frey's other books, this one has lots of facts in it. Lots of facts. And lots of words, over and over again. I bought this book because I had enjoyed Frey's writing, even after it came out that his autobiography was a work of fiction. This book is a cruel joke on the people who are willing to support him (despite Oprah) by purchasing his books. Nasty, not fun, a big downer. From the author of My Friend Leonard I expected better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer RI 05-24-08
    Amazon Customer RI 05-24-08 Member Since 2005

    cmm2901

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "hated the ending"

    I kept waiting for it to get more interesting and just when it seemed like it would, it ended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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