A Million Little Pieces, By James Frey

For those of you that do not know the story, I will fill you in. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey, was originally published in 2005 as a memoir, meaning that it was supposable a true story. It immediately went to being a best seller when Oprah placed this book on her list of “Oprah’s Book Club”. Later, it was revealed that the whole story was in fact fictional. A Million Little Pieces was, of course, removed from “Oprah’s Book Club”, and many readers became angry. I never had the desire to read any book placed on Oprah’s list, for personal reasons, but the ones that get kicked off the list strike my interest. I was looking for a good read, so I thought, “why not enjoy an Oprah reject”? Upon first opening the book, the reader is greeted with a note from the publisher and the author both defended and stating why James fabricated this story. James stated that in the end, the reader should take away the same message, whether or not it is true. A Million Little Pieces told the story of James — a spoiled, rich kid with a bad temper who was placed into rehab after waking up, finding himself beaten and no clue of what happened. James was addicted to any and every type of drug, as well as alcohol. So, it was no picnic recovering within the treatment center. Along the road to recovery, James made new friends, and had a few realizations – but with a stubborn attitude through the whole experience. James even kindled a new, forbidden romance with a fellow female addict. However, it is always in question whether or not James will be able to stay sober outside of the clinic; since he refused to adhere to the rules of the clinic, thought constantly of drugs and alcohol and would not follow recommended “12 steps” since they refer to a belief in a higher power. Even though the struggles of addicts are always an interesting story, James Frey managed to make A Million Little Pieces bland, and boring. The writing was juvenile; with most paragraphs consisting of sentences like, “I got up. I put on my shoes. I walked into the bathroom. I got took off my clothes and got into the shower.” Every mundane detail about his stay in rehab was recorded – including exactly what he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. True, many memoirs are written in the first person, but there are entertaining ways of doing so. The style of writing led me to skimming most of the book. It also took me a while to force my way through the book, since it did not capture my interest. The only thing keeping me going was the fact that I may find some clues and stories about his past, which led him to drugs and alcohol. Another thing that made me want to read this book was my search for inspirational stories. Sometimes it is interesting to find a character that has been through the darkest dark, seen the worst the world has to offer, but still somehow managed to make it out. However, the hope for that type of story was lost in the fact that James did not share any of those past experiences with his readers, except at the very end. But even then, it was merely placed in list form. But don’t take my word for it. If you are interested in memoirs, drug use, and things that Oprah rejects, you may want to check out A Million Little Pieces. You may find it an inspirational, well written story, like so many others.