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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I still am not sure why I chose this book to listen to (maybe I got caught up in the controversy that surrounds this author) but what a terrible decision I made! First off, the story has so many characters and pieces of historical facts of LA popping into the narrative randomly that it makes you wonder where the storyline is heading. In most cases, you never find out. Secondly, the narrator's tempo - jumbling conversations of different characters into one breath and sentence, long dramatic pauses - is aggravating, at least to me. He is not reading Shakespeare!
What was I thinking? You will probably say the same to yourself if you waste a credit and select this book.
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