I read A Million Little Pieces before the entire scandal broke out surrounding the truthfulness of the memoir Even before obtaining the knowledge that the book was not 100% truthful, I found it to be an overdramatized and unrealistic account of what real life drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are like In many scenes in the book I felt as though Frey was self aggrandizing and in some parts even glorifying the experience of being a drug addict He portrayed drug addicts as rough and rugged, people that have been around the blockthan once Although there is definitely some truth to this, the other side of it is that Rehab is an incredibly sad place to visit It is filled with lost souls who due to their brain chemistry, life experiences and poor luck have no other choice or options but to admit themselves People rarely volunteer rehab, it usually takes a severe rock bottom to get them there I feel as though Frey s book would have been a lotpowerful had he excluded the sensationalism that seemed to flood the book, much of this represented in his wriitng style one word sentences for dramatic effect After the scandal was revealed and Frey s book was found to be less than non fiction, my immediate reaction was sadness I view this to mean that Frey has truly not recovered from his addiction, as step four in the 12 step program for recovering addicts is to have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves This book is a reflection that Frey obviously still has some work to do Not that all of us don t..we just didn t write a book To end on a positive note, I will say that A Million Little Pieces did give some people a push to seek treatment for their addictions and anything that is able to motivate someone is valuable, no matter the reason behind it.New thoughts I have been alerted by another good reader that Frey refused to follow the 12 steps while he was in rehab I remember this now..it has been a while since I read the book If the memoir was a true story, I would send an emphatic bravo over to Frey and encourage him to design his own program. However this is not the case and I can only view this as Frey s false promise to other addicts that something other than A.A and the 12 step program will cure them of their demons Sadly, thus far, for the majority of people, the 12 step program is the only successful way to long term recovery and Frey s invalidation of this process does nothing but direct people away from this track. So bad, it s eminently quotable I fondly remember lines like, I endured, I endured, I fucking endured and a bayonet, an eight foot bayonet, a fucking eight foot bayonet both during his traumatic root canal poor Jimmy , and Like a child being burned alive, a child being burned alive, a child being fucking burned alive, Frey s way of describing a grown man s screaming at the top of his lungs See the pattern here Forgive me if I misquote him by leaving out ellipses No, I didn t demand a refund on my copy I borrowed the book from a friend You could say this is stunning prose in that it feels like an eight foot bayonet being rammed through you, but then I ve never been bayoneted, so I wouldn t know. Intense, Unpredictable, And Instantly Engaging, This Is A Story Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse And Rehabilitation As It Has Never Been Told Before It Is Also The Introduction Of A Bold And Talented Literary Voice Before Considering Reading This Book, Please See The BookBrowse Note On The Book Jacket Review PageBookBrowse Note January ThAn Article In The Smoking Gun Claimed That James Frey Author Of A Million Little Pieces And My Friend Leonard Fabricated Key Parts Of His Books They Cited Police Records, Court Documents And Interviews With Law Enforcement Agents Which Belie A Number Of Frey S Claims Regarding Criminal Charges Against Him, Jail Terms And His Fugitive StatusIn An Interview With The Smoking Gun, Frey Admitted That He Had Embellished Central Details In A Million Little Pieces And Backtracked On Claims He Made In The BookJanuary ThFrey S Publisher Stated That While It Initially Stood By Him, After Further Questioning Of The Author, The House Has Sadly Come To The Realization That A Number Of Facts Have Been Altered And Incidents Embellished It Will Be Adding A A Publisher S Note And Author S Note To All Future Editions Of A Million Little Pieces addicts exaggerate the truth who knew first off, it s a great read with a unique style frey makes a sort of rhythm with his sentence structure throughout the entire story, pulling and pushing the reader along at a pace that he frey determines, and that is an amazing accomplishment in itself it is also a wonderful tool for bringing the reader into a world that he she may have absolutely no idea about i ve been to rehab a few, actually, over the course of a year and it is very much like going on a roller coaster without a seat belt when you are least prepared physically mentally for even the slow car ride there.secondly, it would blow a lot of minds to do some research on how ineffective AA really is for many, AA will actually make matters worse i m not anti 12 step programs, if it works, great but there are a lot of other options that people are not made aware of that could save a life or two.third, with regards to the climactic scene where frey confronts the demon whiskey, whether it actually happened or not is pretty irrelevant he paints a great picture of how a person feels once he she is on the other side of the problem disorder disease whatever looking at a manifestation of the very thing that caused so much damage and pain the frustration of realizing that it could do it again if one were to let down one s guard for even a second even the somewhat sick and egotistical pleasure one gets from taunting the old bully that used to beat you up daily and take your lunch money powerful and poignant what amazes methan anything, believe it or not, is frey s honesty he doesn t do what so many addiction memoirs do, which is romanticise a very self degrading affliction he gives it enough of a hook here and there to keep the reader s attention, and he drifts in and out of the plot s reality and his subconscious, which is also very true to the actual experience, but ultimately, he gives a very genuine account of something that thank God most people will never have to go through and when it comes to the scene at the dentist, well, it wouldn t shock me one way or the other concerning his truthiness what i will say is that i can t out right dismiss the possibility when it comes to a man who has the courage to put such a personal and difficult experience out there for the entire world you can question the man s honesty, but not the size of his b lls. warning swear words follow, beware beware So I read this knowing it was a total work of fiction, but I think I would have gotten it even if I hadn t known It was just such utter crap oh, look at me, I m so fucked up I can t even look myself in the eyes, in fact I mfucked up than EVERYONE else around me at this drug rehab facility, and yet somehow everyone just instinctively loves me and look how tough I am, I can undergo dental surgery without anesthesia, because I AM HARD CORE and also DETERMINED TO KICK MY DRUG HABIT ALL ON MY OWN you know, except for the help of all those people around me who inexplicably love me at first sight and will do anything to help me because they can sense my INNER NOBILITY Oh, and look what a big strong tough brave chivalrous man I am for saving a woman who is, well, not as fucked up as me because face it, nobody in the history of the world has EVER BEEN as fucked up as me , but who is delicate and pretty and totally incapable of HANDLING HER SHIT like I am, because I am MADE OF STEEL.Yeah, I really hated this book. I really wish I d gotten my shit together to review this before all of the news about how much of it might be fiction started swirling around But since I didn t, I feel some responsibility to talk about that, as well as about the book itself Oh well.The drama, in case you live under a rock, is that the truth of a number of the claims Frey makes in this book, a memoir, is being contested You can take a look at this article if you d likeinformation My thoughts are that Frey probably did exaggerate or simply make up some of the things he writes in A Million Little Pieces Mostly, though, I don t care My not caring is twofold First, this is a great book, and it would be a great book if it were fiction, so why should it matter how much of it actually happened Secondly, I think it s naive to expect a memoir to be 100% factual if 100% factual even exists People write with an agenda, people even remember with an agenda, and that s always going to come across, to some extent That being said, if it s true that Frey exaggerated or invented a lot of what is in this book, then a disclaimer to that effect should have been printed at the front of the book Tim O Brien, one of my favorite writers of all time, wrote several partially factual partially fiction works dealing with Vietnam His response to critics of his not being 100% accurate was that he was writing the truth about what being there felt like, about what being there was, and sometimes the actual facts fit into that and sometimes they don t I can accept that, and I even admire the perspective But it s not fair to the reader not to lay it out at the beginning if that is what you are doing O Brien does lay it out, and Frey probably should have.That all being said, I thought this was a very high quality book The plot is, in many ways, predictable Frey is a young, well off, white alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal The book is the story of his six week last chance rehab, during which time he comes off his addictions and begins his path of sobriety Nothing revolutionary there However, Frey s writing is top notch, which makes the story interesting to read, and his take on addiction and recovery is much less that you find in most people who write about it and muchlike that I ve found in the real life addicts I know Frey has little respect for AA or 12 stepping in general, and he insists throughout the book on taking responsibility for his own actions and for his addictions He even finds fault with the untouchable tenant that addiction is a disease To me, at least, these things are interesting And whether Frey the human being ever really held them or to what extent matters very little to me What I m interested in is what Frey the writer has to say about them.I like this book because it was interesting to read, it didn t remind me of every other addiction book I ve ever read, and it made me think None of those things require a single word of it to have been true So I recommend you read it However, if there is a sharp and important delineation in your mind between fiction and memoir, you d probably better read this one as fiction. What a million little piece s of crap By the time I finished this book I was craving a few stiff drinks, desperately tearing up the house looking for a syringe and spoon If I had only thrown this one in the Goodwill bin sooner I have no clue why anyone would think this was worthwhile reading material I found it to be vapid, self aggrandizing bullshit from start to finish.I read this book before the whole Oprah controversy confrontation, so that really had no impact upon my lowly opinion This book was so badly written and sophomoric, I never had an inkling of empathy for any of the characters, particularly the author himself So why am I wasting my time writing this review Just in hopes that you will decide not to read this shite Thank you for just saying no to A Million Little Pieces you would have a much better time reading the operating manual for your toaster oven while smoking a rock. The first part of this book is well done Frey does describe what it is like to be an addict well I m one I know After that, it was pure fiction very dangerous fiction for an addict.From his description, I believe he went to the same treatment center as I did They would never allow him to run his own program or pull half the crap he said he did His best thinking will power got him to treatment It isn t logical nor part of any reputable treatment plan, to allow the addict to cure himself If it was, none of us would ever be in a treatment center in the first place I went there because it was that or death My mother read the book said it gave her an insight into my disease she had never had before Kudos for that Seriously, I am most thankful it s the only reason this didn t get a single star She believed the whole book I knew most of it was fiction way before Oprah finally got around to saying it Thumbs down to Oprah on this one she had to know it too, from her medical expert who supposedly told her well before air time As for Mr Frey, he got his moment of fame, probably a lot of money hopefully he really isn t an addict or it will likely kill him.There are better ways for a loved one to know what it is like to be an addict If that person won t go to AA, NA or Alanon if you think this is the only way for them to learn by all means give them the book Just rip the last half to 2 3 of it out first. My Book Club chose to read this Book for the month of June.I had owned it for years and never gotten around to reading it.Then I read it.The Book A Million Little Pieces.It is the allegedly true but probably not story of a Man who smokes a lot of crack and huffs gas and drinks and drinks and drinks until he is so sick he blacks out and he worries his friends and his family until he is sent to a Clinic He has no front teeth and his cheek has a gash He is hurt from smoking crack and huffing gas and drinking and drinking and drinking.He is a mess.He needs help.He is a mess and he needs help.He does not want to be at the Clinic and fights all the Rules for the first 200 pages But the Man meets some Friends who help him through the tough times, a Girl who he falls in love with, and a hard nosed psychologist who does not give up on him The Man is sure he can kick his habit without the help of God or Twelve Steps This is his story.Allegedly.I like this book, I thought, when I first started reading it, even though I knew it was probably 80% bull I will read it anyway, I thought It is a fast read Look at how fast I am reading this book What a fast read.And then the Book started to annoy me.Why aren t there quotation marks It is not like a Cormac McCarthy book that eschews punctuation for the sake of sparse, beautiful writing It is just eschewing for the sake of eschewing This is ridiculous.Why does the Man who writes the book capitalize some Nouns but not other nouns Is the Man doing it because he thinks it s artsy I don t think a memoir should be artsy as much as it should be factual.Why are there no paragraph breaks or margins Is it because the Man is a Rule breaker and Hard nosed and because he has a Devil May Care attitude I think the Man just thinks he s cool, and Cool Guys don t need margins or paragraph breaks.Why does the Man keep repeating things He eats eggs He eats cheese He eats eggs and cheese He vomits and vomits and vomits and vomits He is scared and heartbroken and worried and mad and facing his anger and wanting to drink and do drugs and hurt himself He is scared and heartbroken and worried and mad and facing his anger and wanting to drink and do drugs and hurt himself I want to hurt him for writing lists instead of sentences I also want to hurt him For Doing.Things.Like This.But there s something about the book that made me want to readAnd I read it.I didn t throw it across the room in a fit of Rage.It made me not want to do Crack.But I ve never wanted to do Crack.And maybe that s why my Million Pieces are still together. I read MLP in the spring of 2004 after it was recommended to me by an internship supervisor turned friend when I shared with her a story I wrote about a man addicted to cocaine, inspired by true life events Her life had also been touched by addiction and when she learned that mine was, she lent me the book I was pulled in by it, chewed up, and spit out with everything put back together differently Together, we dissected it at length, comparing battle scars reopened by Frey s raw edged prose We were the only ones we knew who had read it, and we didn t dare recommend it to just anyone It was too weighty, the subject material cut too deep No, MLP was like a secret club, something to be shared prefaced with a disclaimer of It s really intense, and kind of gory at parts, impossible to read at others, but you might like it Then, Oprah happened Dear, sweet, well meaning Oprah departed from her usual selections and took her book club down agnarled, jagged path Before long, suburban housewives were gasping when Frey vomited for the twelfth time, themselves gagging on lunch when he got his root canal with only tennis balls to squeeze to control the pain until his nails shattered, discussing his every relapse over coffee, weeping when he found the redemption he had fought so hard against Then, The Smoking Gun happened They broke open his story, exposing alleged embellishments and outright fabrications They vilified him, putting him down in a fiery pit with the likes of Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair The millions of sheep Oprah shepherded Frey s way responded in kind, guided by a new messiah with a new message Frey was a dirty, rotten man who should be spit upon if you run into him on the street And certainly don t waste your tears and pity on such a despicable individual.They feel betrayed They welcomed this man into their hearts, they prayed for him, and parts of him never existed That s all this book is to them the tragic story of a reluctant an unlikely hero A bit less palatable than, say, Macbeth, but the archetype is still the same.The Smoking Gun does have some hard evidence, I m not going to lie I don t know Frey personally, I don t know anything about him beyond what he has written However, it doesn t diminish how I feel about the book There are those of us, like my friend and I, with whom the book resonated due to an association with addiction, can appreciate it for what it is, however true or fabricated it may be I m still haunted by things I read in that book I keep going back to the root canal scene That s one of the parts of the book that s under suspicion Whether it happened or not, it s still captivating My own mother is in recovery with over a decade of sobriety She has to be very careful with what medications they use, no matter how much pain they re in, or how detatched they d like to be She s been clean and sober for over a decade, yet there are choices she to make every day with regards to keeping that sobriety No, it s not as intense as the root canal scene Both, however, serve as examples of how that one drink after work can turn into 4 drinks and then passing out can turn into something that will direct the rest of your life.The fact of the matter remains, the writing is solid and the story is compelling Frey is no Janet Cooke and MLP is no Jimmy s World If you read the book and you got a glimmer of hope from it, whether it be about your own addiction or the demons a loved one has faced, then it s still a worthwhile read.