A Million Little Pieces

James Frey

Author's Purpose

The author wanted to inform people about his long term struggle with drug abuse most likely so that those who suffer from the same affliction or just regular people could look at his experiences and apply them to their own lives. Writing this book also benefits the author because telling his story and putting everything out there can be freeing and therapeutic for someone who has so much to say.

Concepts

A. Self Reliance: Coping with addiction is about owning up for one's own actions and weaknesses rather then blaming them on others people or the addiction itself.

B. Beauty can be inspiring: Holding on to the things things one appreciates and finds beauty in can provide strength and courage.

C. Loneliness: Loneliness is crippling to the recovery process. It is better to have people who care for an addict there to support them and give encouragement. This can be the difference between recovery and relapsing.

Rating

I rate the book a five. It drew my interest from the very beginning which most books don't do. The story is unpredictable and sometimes suspenseful. There are many life lessons and hidden truths that one can learn from reading the book. The story is very dramatic and comedic at times The dialogue is raw yet amusing and intense. Overall, it's just a very good read.

Connection

James in a lot of ways is like Gregory House from the TV show, House. House, like James was a drug addict and eventually his addiction caught up to him and he became mentally ill because of it. House is also similar to James in the fact that they are both lonely and miserable. Their loneliness, however, is somewhat self-imposed because of their attitude towards the people around them. Both characters also have a damaged relationship with their parents and siblings. James and House also have hardly any friends. Both of these men are also sent to a treatment facility because of their drug problems.

Passages

"Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don't think you can, hold on." [P.195]


I thought this passage was quite powerful and there was a lot of emotion behind it. It was Leonard's last few words to James before he left so it's also important in that sense especially because they were such close friends.


The Young Man came to the Old Man seeking counsel. I broke something Old man. How badly is it broken? It's in a million little pieces. I'm afraid I can't help you. Why? It can't be fixed. Why? It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces.

[Preface]


This is undoubtedly where the name of the book comes from. I chose this quote because it's a good metaphor to describe James's struggle. He has been through a lot and he is somewhat of a broken man. Even he thought that recovery wouldn't work for him because he was too damaged and felt hopeless. In the end, however, he found his own way to fix himself.

Greatest Impression

"If an individual is fat but wants to be thin, it is not a genetic disease. If someone is stupid, but wants to be smart, it is not a genetic disease. If a drunk is a drunk, but doesn't want to be a drunk anymore, it is not a genetic disease. Addiction is a decision." [P.291]


This section really caught my attention because everything James said is the truth. Addiction is labeled as a disease when it really shouldn't be. Diseases are things that people are afflicted with that they have no control over. Addiction is a decision a person makes to use or to take something in excess, sometimes harmful, sometimes harmless. Nonetheless, it is always that person's decision to say yes or no. It is up to the individual to use their willpower to look beyond the craving and the instant gratification and just say no.

Summary

James Frey, a chronic drug and alcohol abuser wakes up one day on a plane, having suffered several severe injuries to his face. James had blacked out and fallen from a fire escape from abusing drugs. He is eventually placed in an addiction treatment center in Minnesota. As expected, the recovery process isn't easy. James runs into many hurdles at the recovery center, but makes many new life long friends along the way as well as a love interest.