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A Million Little Pieces Book Review

By:   •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,582 Words  •  February 22, 2010  •  735 Views

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The book “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey is a heart wrenching story of James’ time in drug rehab. In this book Frey is trying to inform the reader about what it is like to go through rehab. He describes his entire time, from the day before he arrives until the day he leaves. He describes all his feelings and the routine life they give him at the clinic. The main themes of this book are holding on and love. He has trouble making any progress with the program until another patient, named Leonard, gives James a talk about holding on. He also falls in love with a girl named Lilly and finds a new love for his family. This book really illustrates a look at the drug culture and entails a history of James Frey’s stay at the clinic. He begins reading a Taoist book and learns to control his temper better. He sometimes has dreams about a bottle in one hand and a crack pipe in the other. He describes one girl blabbering on about nothing after smoking the rock. It focuses on his progression in his mind and his outlook toward life. In the beginning he hates himself and wants to die, but by the end of the book he is strong enough to smell alcohol and still choose not to drink it.

The book starts with James waking up on a plane and not knowing where he is going or how he got there. His parents pick him up at the airport and drive him to the best clinic money can buy. As he is admitted to the program he is very skeptical. He hates the idea of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps Programs. He presents this to the audience very well. Frey has a specific writing style that really keeps you in touch with the characters. He perfectly describes his feelings, so you can understand and relate. He sometimes repeats words. It is as if you are reading his thoughts.

“I reach for a glass of water and I take a sip but it’s too cold.

I reach for the orange juice and I take a sip but it burns.

I try to use the fork but it does too much damage.

I break up the toast and push the pieces down my throat with my fingers.

I do the same with the potatoes and the eggs and the bacon. I drink the water, but not the juice. I lick my fingers clean.

When I’m done I go to the bathroom and I vomit. I try to stop it, but I can’t. About half the food comes up, as does some blood and some bile. I am happy that I have kept half of the food. That is more than I normally keep.”

James eventually becomes friends with a man named Leonard. At first he told Leonard that he didn’t want to talk or make friends, but Leonard kept talking to him. After James warms up to him, Leonard tells him his story. Leonard is at the clinic because he was a mobster with his father, and after the death of his mother his father came to the clinic and became clean. Leonard’s story is very moving, and inspires James to keep holding on and trying to get better. Initially James had a sour attitude and was planning to run away from the clinic and kill himself, but after hearing Leonard’s story he decides to stay. It is presented to the audience very well. Your emotions are touched as he describes Leonard, a tough man, crying as he recalls his past.

“Leonard breaks down and starts weeping. It is a strong shaking sobbing wracking weeping, the weeping that comes from a wound that will never heal. I let him weep, leave him be with his memories and his loss and his pain. I would offer him comfort, but it wouldn’t matter. The wounds that never heal can only be mourned alone.”

When James’ parents come to do the family program, James gets really mad. For as long as he can remember any time he gets around his parents he gets really mad. He has to tell everything he has done to them and his mother cries so hard she cannot breathe. Frey wrote this very well, describing his guilt and his parents’ reactions to his confession. He has always hidden everything from his parents, and it is really hard for him to tell them. Frey presents this very well as he describes his thoughts towards his parents and seeing them cry.

“I look at my parents. They are still crying. There are tears dripping from my father’s face and my mother is having trouble breathing. I would like to do something to make them feel better, but I’m incapable of it. I hate myself too much to do anything.

I stand and I walk out of the room. Joanne is holding the door open and she closes it behind me. As soon as it is shut and as soon as I can no longer see feel touch or hurt my parents, I start to feel better.”

While staying at the clinic James falls in love with a girl named Lilly. Even though the men and women are not allowed to talk to each other,

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