A Million Little Pieces

Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on November 28, 2012

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots: “Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.” The nearest book to the desk is A Million Little Pieces. This is a good excuse to finally write the book report on AMLP.

“I wish I could sit next to her, or call her, or pass her a note.”
James Frey is talking about “Michelle”. In the story, she is the only person in a small town who is not repulsed by James. She becomes his friend. One night, she has a date with an older boy, and tells her parents she is going to a movie with James. During the date, “Michelle” is killed by a freight train. The parents blame James, who becomes a drunken pariah.
As you may know, AMLP is a controversial book. It became an Oprah fueled sensation. Next, The Smoking Gun published an expose, A Million Little Lies. The story about “Michelle” was one of many instances where TSG called BS on James Frey.

The first time PG heard of TSG was about their collection of Celebrity Mug Shots.
This was also the link between TSG and AMLP.
“It was after the Oprah show aired that TSG first took a look at Frey. We had simply planned to track down one of his many mug shots, and add it to our site’s large collection. While Frey offers no specific details about when and where he was collared, the book does mention three states where he ran into trouble: Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina. While nine of Frey’s 14 reported arrests would have occurred when he was a minor, there still remained five cases for which a booking photo (not to mention police and court records) should have existed. When we asked Frey if his reporting of the laundry list of juvenile crimes and arrests was accurate, he answered, “Yeah, some of ’em are, some of ’em aren’t. I mean I just sorta tried to play off memory for that stuff.”
By the time PG found A Million Little Pieces at a yard sale, the controversy had become a trivia question. It had to be worth twenty cents. The question might be, is this book worth the time out of your life?

There are a lot of angles to AMLP, though probably not a million. There are some interviews with Mr. Frey on youtube. He seems to have a healthy ego. In AMLP, James comes across as being a very unlikeable person. For some mysterious reason, some people take a special interest in James, and he is rescued from his chemical addictions. Or so he says.

The story starts out strong. James is on an airplane. He has been beaten up, and does not know where he is going. It seems like he is going to rehab, specifically Hazelden in Minnesota. (This facility is never named in the book.) James is in bad, bad shape. If he doesn’t quit drinking and using, he is going to die. One thing he has going for him is wealthy parents. His father is a businessman working in Toyko. Apparently, this is where the bills will go.

James needs dental work, and has a root canal done without pain medication. Next, he wants to leave the program, but is talked out of it. The dude is a total jerk at this point, and the reader wonders why anyone would care about him. Also, there is little in his background that would lead him to being a horrific druggie. These are a few of the pieces that don’t fit into the puzzle.

PG was about a third through AMLP when he read the Smoking Gun hit piece. There were also a few video interviews to listen to. The picture of James Frey as an egomaniac jerk starts to come out, in addition to the numerous lies in the book.

James has some interesting ideas about addiction and recovery. He disagrees with the concept of addiction as a disease. James does not buy the idea of 12 step programs being the ultimate recovery device.
PG is a retired drunk, and has never been to an AA meeting. From what PG has heard about the program, it would incline the 12 stepper to start drinking again. While AA does help some people, it is not the only game in town.
AMLP is well written, and fun to read. Maybe fun is not the correct word for having root canal without Novocaine, but AMLP does keep your attention. If you can suspend your critical thinking long enough, you can easily get through this book. James Frey has a book about religion, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible. He is quoted as saying that people accept the Bible as inerrant truth, despite many who dispute this claim. He says that one day AMLP will be seen as the truth. (This last statement was in one of the video interviews. It may not be totally accurate. Listening to all those interviews again, to confirm or disprove this memory, is too much work for this book report.)

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

One Response

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  1. The Corrections | Chamblee54 said, on June 11, 2018 at 10:27 am

    […] it hurt. It should be noted that PG had not heard of the Oprah problem while he was reading TC. A Million Little Pieces is another book with an Oprah problem. PG paid twenty cents for his copy of AMLP. In the chamblee54 […]

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