Monday, December 01, 2008

Million Little Pieces : James Frey

Million Little Pieces
James Frey

This memoir got a bit of negative publicity a few years ago, after The Smoking Gun uncovered some falsehoods about events in the book and Oprah denouncing Frey, after she had selected the book for her book club. (Wikipedia has the whole story)

My first reaction after finishing this memoir was that it read like fiction or at least a guy's sugared-up version of his life. All of the characters just came across as 1-dimensional movie characters, each with their differing motivations. The whole time I was thinking that it was blend of a more-mature version of Catcher in the Rye (the whole smart protagonist-angry-at-the-world thing) and the movie version of Girl, Interrupted (glossification of mental issues).

And umm, maybe I've the advantage of perspective, but I don't get the outrage. Seriously, this dude was in rehab for some hard-core drugs and alcohol abuse. Do you really expect him to have the discipline for memoir truth?

So I read this with the perspective that it was fiction. And I would say that I might recommend this to say college age readers, folks who have matured beyond Catcher in the Rye and who would benefit from reading a sugar-coated storyline of how badly drugs can mess you up. But for me, I just didn't get very much out of it. I enjoyed certain parts - his interactions with his parents, his descriptions of his pain (cringe-inducing in parts) and his love story. But in the end, it just felt like a somewhat generic movie that I'll forget about soon afterward.

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