Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

A Million Little Pieces

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Is James Frey the next Great American author? A Million Little Pieces is the supposed documentation of James Frey’s six week rehabilitation from alcohol addiction, when he was 23 years old.

The graphic results caused by Frey’s complex, along with the deeply rooted relationship America has with alcoholism allowed this novel to become a best seller.  This is despite the fact that the majority of instances presented in this book to be actual occurrences are, in fact, fiction.

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The story follows James Frey’s struggle with addiction.  It begins with him in dire straights.  In this essay, I will prove and show why James Frey is a candidate for possibly being considered the greatest writer of the new generation.

Frey wakes up on an airplane half dead with absolutely no recollection of how he got there.  With a hole in his cheek, his nose broken and barely able to walk, Frey’s family picking him up from the airport has absolutely no choice but to take him to rehab.  In rehab, Frey is forced to quit alcohol and drugs cold-turkey, which would be reasonably difficult for anyone in his assumed position.

He claims to be addicted to practically every drug, on top of his addiction to alcohol; he claims to have an extensive criminal record, which makes it very clear to the reader that he was a self destructive youth. But, I personally feel some of his depictions are a bit over the top. The signature line from this book is, I am an Alcoholic and I am a Drug Addict and I am a Criminal.  This also seems to be more of a persona played out by the main character as apposed to an actual depiction of Frey himself.

The fact that Frey has dental surgery without any anesthetics, and the idea that he gets into numerous fights with whomever crosses his path, these are all examples of how Frey tries to create a tough persona for himself.  As an epic hero, Frey serves well, but once it is discovered that his book is fictional, I think it becomes even more complex and actually makes a very saying statement about the author.

I do commend Frey on his writing style.  It is very unpredictable and unique to him.  His lines

The fact that it is known that Frey fabricated the truth, and that the book is very loosely based on fact, it leaves very little room for sociological interpretations.  There are moments in Frey’s rehabilitation when he meets with other interesting addicts.

He compares their addictions to his own, and in turn forms a rational perception of his own problem.  He eventually uses this new self perception for the purpose of his own rehabilitation.

This is a very trying and uplifting moment for the reader, whether it is fictional or not.  The six week experience draws a lot of emotion out of Frey, and if you feel for the character you will embody these emotions along with him.  Frey’s realization about addiction is a sincere take that is universally true.

A Million Little Pieces essay

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