BookBrowse Note: January 9th 2006: An article in
the Smoking Gunclaimed 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 status.
In 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 book.
January 26th 2006. Frey'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.
Perhaps the most unconventional and literally breathtaking
father-son story you'll ever read, My Friend Leonard
pulls you immediately and deeply into a relationship as
unusual as it is inspiring.
The father figure is Leonard, the high-living, recovering coke
addict "West Coast Director of a large Italian-American
finance firm" (read: mobster) who helped to keep James Frey
clean in A Million Little Pieces. The son is,
of course, James, damaged perhaps beyond repair by years of
crack and alcohol addiction-and by more than a few cruel
tricks of fate.
James embarks on his post-rehab existence in Chicago
emotionally devastated, broke, and afraid to get close to
other people. But then Leonard comes back into his life, and
everything changes. Leonard offers his "son" lucrativeif
illegal and slightly dangerousemployment. He teaches James to
enjoy life, sober, for the first time. He instructs him in the
art of "living boldly," pushes him to pursue his passion for
writing, and provides a watchful and supportive veil of
protection under which James can get his life together. Both
Leonard's and James's careers flourish but then Leonard
vanishes. When the reasons behind his mysterious absence are
revealed, the book opens up in unexpected emotional ways.
My Friend Leonard showcases a brilliant and
energetic young writer rising to important new
challengesdisplaying surprising warmth, humor, and
maturitywithout losing his intensity. This book proves that
one of the most provocative literary voices of his generation
is also one of the most emphatically human.
Although My Friend Leonard has not come under the same detailed scrutiny as Frey's first book (see above), it has to be assumed that it too would be better described as a "novel based on a true story". (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Poets & Writers Magazine
Suffused with anger and regret, written by a man who has straddled the line between life and death and has taken his time figuring out which side he wants to jump to. He spares no gory details.
Newsweek - Malcolm Jones
As smart as it is heartfelt, this tribute to friendship is a far sunnier book than Frey's debut.... Frey's cool, shrewd eye for detail ties it all together, whether he's describing the inside of a jail, a Super Bowl party, or the plaintive rootlessness of life in Los Angeles.
The engrossing story of a bizarre friendship between the author and a dangerous mobster.
Frey's appeal lies in his ability to tell his down and dirty, hair-raising story in sparse, hypnotic prose--in this sense he's already a master stylist, of kind. No subject , no height or depth of human experience is too extreme for him to come around on with deadeye grace and force of his beautiful, sad, potent, irresistible prose.
Starred Review. Frey achieves another stylistic coup... Frey's style throughout is loose, untraditional, but perfectly crafted... This book packs a full emotional wallop... Frey's extraordinary relationship with Leonard is alive, a flesh-and-blood bond.
Starred Review. A fine, grim tale full of smarting immediacy... small fortune could be made by bottling this story and selling it as an antidote to self-pity. Frey will have to settle for the small fortune it will make in big sales.
Starred Review. A raw, often visceral, reading experience. With Frey's emotions so close to the surface, it's impossible not to care about Frey's struggles to reintegrate into society and prosper. Another powerful read from a talented, dynamic author.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Natasha Honesty This book allowed me to explore human emotion in a way that I had not experienced before and have not come across since. Throughout the entire story, I felt as if James Frey were speaking to me personally and that he understood the way I felt in... Read More
Rated of 5
by NIKKICOLA AWESOME This book is amazing. I started reading it a while back, then I told my mom about it and then she started reading it before I had a chance to even finish it, So she finished it before I did and she said it was a great book. I am about done with it... Read More
Rated of 5
by Daniella Nothing expected You expect a great book coming from the James Frey, but not one that's got a situational irony at the end. what surprises me most is that everything is true and quite heartbreaking.
This book is shocking, heartbreaking, and just as great as the... Read More
Rated of 5
by timmy Nothing compares. I just finished reading My Friend Leonard. I am absolutely speechless. I was in tears at the end of the book. Frey knows how to get to his reader. The book (and a million little pieces as well) is brutally honest and Frey can really, really write... Read More
Rated of 5
by ACE It opened my eyes when I started reading A Million Little Pieces I was amazed by the truth behind drugs, when you read other books and if they involve drugs they always talk about how good it feels and never the truth about where they lead to. James Frey might of... Read More
Rated of 5
by Emma My Friend Leonard Another excellent book. I was hooked from start to finish, as with A Million Little Pieces I couldn't put it down.
Although a little of this book may be made up you have to admire James and wish him all the best for the future. Heres hoping... Read More
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