03 August 2007

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

When the book first became popular (thank you Oprah) I refused to read it. When the author was disparaged for exaggerating his autobiography (thank you Oprah) I refused to read it. When I got sick of romance novels and overly complicated philosophy texts and needed something in the middle, I read it. And I like it.

I found the story - or exaggerated autobiography - interesting in its non-typical portrayal of drug and alcohol addiction and the process of recovery. My other experiences with addiction have been either from watching them on television or in a movie - which tends to be overly romanticized - or from other autobiographies - which tend to be simplistic and fruity. The overwhelming need for "fuel" (drugs, alcohol, sex, food, anything) discussed in the text seemed to ring true; although this is a difficult statement to make as I have never been truly addicted to anything. Except maybe books. Books are my crack.

At times, the book seemed a bit...self-aggrandizing as the author continually makes reference throughout the story to the fact that he doesn't believe in AA or the Twelve Steps or relying on anyone but himself. And he is quick to point out through the words of those who work in the clinic that 'no one can make it on their own, the only path proven to work is the 12 steps, etc." This continuous mentioning of the power of the author to control himself is a bit annoying. But I think this is nicely countered by the author's confessions of horrors he has committed and weaknesses he has.

I find myself wondering now what was true and what was a lie, but I'm determined to not start researching it. Take the story for what it is: a story about a man overcoming addiction written by a man who went through a similar experience.

Buy  |  Borrow  |  Accept  |  Avoid

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