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Halfway through book review: A Million Little Pieces

It's starting to be the slow winter time again here at work, so that means I get to read books again. I picked out A Million Little Pieces off of our bookshelf in one of those quick-I-need-to-pick-a-book moments. For those of you that don't remember, the book is most famous for tricking Oprah. If you read the back cover, AMLP tells you that
"At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his four front teeth knocked out, his nose broken, and a hole through his cheek. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three, he checked into a treatment facility shoftly after landing. There he was told he could either stop using or die before he reached age 24. This is Frey's acclaimed account of six weeks in rehab"
And you looked at the cover and thought that it was about a mishap in a confectioner's kitchen.

Anyhow, so here's the thing: it's not a true story. It's all made up. This made Oprah mad. I would ordinarily say that you don't want to make Oprah mad, but this of course just got the guy more publicity.

Onto my review though. I can't say that this is a book that I would ever reccomend to anyone. Don't get me wrong, it's not that it's a bad book. It's just that it's not an enjoyable book.

You already know that the guy got his teeth knocked out from the back cover. Well, see, there's also this part in the book where he goes to the dentist and has to get double root canals done without anesthesia (since he's a recovering addict). The description is so painful that you find yourself skipping paragraphs. It's hard to be like, "Hey friend of mine, you seem like the kind of person that might enjoy imagining painful surgery being done on you"

Furthermore, the writing style is distracting. First we have liberal use of capitalization: "We pull into the Parking Lot and park the car and I finish a bottle and we get out and we start walking toward the Entrance of the Clinic". And I gotta tell you, even though I realize every time he writes "People" that he isn't talking about the magazine, it distracts me every time.

All converations are done without indentation, quotation marks, or designation of who is speaking. Like this
"I'm sorry.
He looks up at me, wipes his face.
I didn't mean to upset you.
You're sick.
I don't respond.
You're a sick, sick person.
I don't respond because he's right. I'm a sick sick person.
I want you get away from me.
I didn't mean to upset you.
Get away.
I turn and walk out of the Bathroom and I go to my part of the Room. John is awake and staring at me."

It works pretty well when there are two people talking, but is really confusing when you have three or more people in a conversation. And yes, the book does actually sometimes use bold text for yelling. And sometimes it uses caps.

I think if Karen hadn't already read this book I would have given up after chapter 1, but here I am halfway through. At times I find myself wanting to just say "forget it" but I still am plowing my way through the book because it actually is a pretty interesting story to read. I'm pretty concerned that it's going to have a lame ending though. See, the main character hates the 12 step program because he says that 12 steppers just end up replacing one addiction with another. Yet I can tell already (and Karen mentioned it) that the guy is going to get addicted to this other girl in the clinic. He also looks down on religion and is becoming at Taoist at the part I'm at.

Again though, I want to emphasize that it's not a bad book. At times it's quite gripping and has a lot of forward momentum to keep the plot going. But I think no matter how these story ends up (I'm guessing that Fake James Frey must end up overcoming it all since Real James Frey is now an author which is less inspriational since Fake James Frey is not Real James Frey), I would rather lend you a different book from the Mike and Karen library than this one.

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