a million little pieces

Remember that guy who wrote that book that Oprah thought she loved but then decided she hated when she learned that The Smoking Gun was on to the fact that all of what he wrote was not entirely true? Yeah?

Remember that guy who called himself a criminal on day time television and then retracted that statement, in part, in a sit down heart-to-heart in which he revealed that like the rest of us, he was mostly insecure and broken? Yeah. That book called a million little pieces by James Frey.

I bought it from the Thrift store this weekend for $.25. $.25!! The cover was ripped, likely, I assumed in holding it in my hands, because someone who owned it watched the interview and was outraged at the deception!! Or, not. Yeah. Likely that’s not why the cover was ripped and it smelled of cigarettes and bad cologne.

I picked it up and bought it because I wanted to see what the hype was about and why he (Frey) moved Oprah and millions of, mostly women, Americans.

I started reading it and am not finished with it, but I can’t say that I get what the big deal was (is). You know how when someone tells you something is really good and then you try it and then you, assuming that “it” is a cupcake, keep eating it waiting for it to get good. Because the first, second, and third bites aren’t that good. But you keep eating, waiting for that moment that you kept hearing about? That’s what this book is like for me.

It’s like a highly acclaimed cupcake that doesn’t really taste that great but that you keep eating because you are unwilling to trust yourself that the greats who said it would be good could be wrong.

It’s odd to me that it was picked up by Oprah at all. It’s odd that Oprah and so many other women were drawn to a story of an addict who was, in a sense, broken and unable to love and be loved. Wait. That’s actually not strange.

I get the whiff of romantic tragedy in reading A million little pieces. I get that it is gruesome, but beneath all that it’s a story of a guy who just wants to be loved, it seems, by himself and women. This tale need not be told as a true story, so why did it need to be a true story? Or does this just have to do with truth and the responsibility of writers in the age of “truthiness” to be truthful?



Have you read “a million little pieces” by James Frey? What did you think of the book?

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8 Responses to a million little pieces

  1. Cecilia says:

    I haven’t read the book but I do remember the hoopla over it. And then not long ago, like a couple of weeks ago, I read some reader’s comment about something where he accused someone of “getting all James Frey.” Yikes – to be turned into a derogatory verb like that!

    I can relate to your cupcake analogy. Earlier this year I had read a book that the world just seemed to LOVE – and a movie was even made out of it – and I found it to be horribly written! But the fact that it was SO popular forced me to plow through the entire thing, thinking, hoping that maybe I would be pleasantly surprised. It never happened. I agree that we should develop more confidence in our own tastes and not be overly swayed by popular opinion.

    • Jessica says:

      LOL. So, now James Frey is a verb? That’s funny. I feel for the guy a bit. To go from everything to nothing in a matter of months must have been hard. I read some interviews from him in which he explained how he wanted to be like the literary greats. He wanted to do something different with A million little pieces, something that had not been done before. That’s admirable.

      What book was it that you read? I actually couldn’t plow through the Frey novel. I’ve stopped for now. I started and finished “How to Kill A Mockingbird” and just can’t push myself to want to go back. It’s a shame. lol.

      • Only You says:

        Hi Jessica. It was Sarah’s Key that I didn’t like despite its popularity…

        I know what you mean about not being able to go back…there are so many other books beckoning us! I do get really disappointed when I look forward to a book and then it ends up just being meh and yet I’ve already devoted time or sometimes money to it….

      • Jessica says:

        Ah. Thank you, Cecilia. I get disappointed, too. Now that I’ve stopped reading “A Million Little Pieces” I can’t force myself back into it. I may try again once I’m done with the novels that I really do want to read. 🙂

  2. Tom Elias says:

    Funny, I read AMLP before I knew it was ‘faked.’ It was depressing but seemed genuine, and I felt the experience could have been real. To me it was merely a twist on fiction. Perhaps part of the appeal to me story-wise was the fact that it’s so far removed (the addiction and recovery) from my experince.

    • Jessica says:

      Yeah. You know. I think if I didn’t know that it was a fake, I would have been more receptive to it. But since I knew about it and saw the Oprah interview, it was hard to just read it and see it for anything else than what it became in the aftermath of it’s critical acclaim. I have stopped reading it, but I hope to return to it soon.

  3. I read the majority of the book on a flight from ATL to PHX before the book became infamous because of Oprah. I have to say, I really liked the book. When I first started it, I hated the way it was written–the short incomplete sentences were an English major’s nightmare–but I finished it and even bought “My Friend Leonard,” the sequel, to find out what happened to Leonard after AMLP. I still don’t even really know what all happened with Oprah, though…

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, so it gets better? I guess I should pick it up again and give it a try. I feel bad that I just stopped. I think it’s better that you not know about the Oprah thing. It colored my entire reading!

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