BookBrowse Note: January 9th 2006: An article in
the Smoking Gun claimed 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.
On my first day in jail, a three hundred pound
man named Porterhouse hit me in the back of the head with a metal tray.
I was standing in line for lunch and I didn't see it coming. I went
down. When I got up, I turned around and I started throwing punches. I
landed two or three before I got hit again, this time in the face. I
went down again. I wiped blood away from my nose and my mouth and I got
up I started throwing punches again. Porterhouse put me in a headlock
and started choking me. He leaned towards my ear and said I'm gonna let
you go. If you keep fighting me I will fucking hurt you bad. Stay down
and I will leave you alone. He let go of me, and I stayed down.
I have been here for sixty-seven days. I live in Men's Module B, which is for violent and felonious offenders. There are thirty-two cells in my module, thirty-two inmates. At any given time, ...
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).
Full Review (512 words).
If you liked My Friend Leonard, try these:
Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.
Powered by a spare, ruminative prose style that recalls the best of Denis Johnson and Thom Jones, Controlled Burn is an unforgettable debut.
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