Frey roundup

The Independent reviewer likes James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces.

Janet Maslin, on the other hand, slammed it in the NY Times last month. And Laura Miller was fairly withering in The New Yorker review:

This is the Dirty Harry model of recovery, and the cinematic quality of some of Frey’s exploits makes you wonder whether the facts in this memoir have been enhanced. What’s genuine is the propulsive energy the book shares with earlier chronicles of overgrown-adolescent angst and misbehavior, like Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir “Prozac Nation” or Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Fight Club.” Although, like Wurtzel, Frey writes about events that happened when he was no longer a teen-ager, conventional wisdom has it that the emotional development of an addict remains stalled at the age he started using. Frey—who began getting drunk at ten, expanded into cocaine, LSD, and speed at fifteen, and by twenty-two had a crack habit—actually beats the formula by a few years; he’s got more or less the temperament and insight of a sixteen-year-old.

I read Frey’s book a couple of weekends ago and found it a quick read, with some memorable and moving scenes. But in the end it wasn’t terribly distinct from other addiction memoirs, and it was a bit too self-congratulatory and repetitive for my taste.

In short, I wouldn’t rush out and buy it in hardcover unless The Strand is a resource available to you.

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