Sunday, 7 February 2010

Book Review - 'My Friend Leonard'

James Frey

The two Books.


I first read 'A Million Little pieces'a few years ago. I stumbled upon it quite by accident in a charity shop where I was drawn initially by the sparkly cover. After reading the sleeve notes I decided that I had to read it.
Frey is 23 years old, and has been an alcoholic for ten years, and a crack addict for three. He is also wanted by the police in three different states on several charges. The book takes us through his agonizing experiences during his time in the rehab clinic.
Frey meets many interesting people in the clinic, and who play an important role in his life both during and after his time in the clinic. These people include a mafia boss (subject of Frey's subsequent book My Friend Leonard), and a woman drug addict with whom he falls in love. It is a cracking read.
However controversy was to follow some of the claims made in the book as being 'falsified'.
Frey later apologized for fabricating portions of his book and for having made himself seem tougher and more daring and more aggressive than in reality. There were also literary reasons for his fabrications, as well. He stated that he wanted the
book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs.
My Friend Leonard was published in June 2005 and begins with Frey's release from an Ohio County Jail. He immediately drives to Chicago to see his girlfriend who has just lost her Grandmother after being so close to her. When he arrives James is informed by the director of the halfway house that Lilly committed suicide because she could not deal with the pain of losing her grandmother. Despite feeling an incredible sense of loss and confusion he does not resort to alcohol to escape. But does visit a liquor store.
James then makes contact with Leonard from the rehab centre and this is the focus of the book mainly. The relationship between them both as Leonard treats James as his adopted son.
The book is a wonderful story of how James must handle great adversity throughout his new life. He has to deal with people who aren't always reputable. He battles with depression, but slowly grows from his experiences.
I really enjoyed this book would highly recommend.

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