[personal profile] niori_1709
I remember when this book first came out, and I remember how everyone from Oprah to my teacher was raving about it. Everyone was going on about how amazing a memoir it was, about how horrifically it described addiction and rehab. I also remember when, not long after that, it came out that good chunks of the book weren't as true as Frey claimed. I hadn't read the book at that point, so I didn't feel the disappointment many readers did. Yet, only semi-fictional or not, my interest was piqued (controversy does that for me).

'A Million Little Pieces' begins with Frey (as a memoir, it is told from his point of view of course) waking up on an airplane, injured, and having no idea how either of those things happened. He ends up being checked into a rehab centre (he's been an alcoholic and crack addict for years). The books follows Frey through a very painful rehab, where he meets some really intriguing, equally messed up people, all of who show the reader that, unlike what we may think, there's no one 'type' of addict. They're all different, have different pasts and from different walks of life- there's no one stereotype that fits them all. There's Leonard, the Mafia boss who is far more wise than one would expect. There's Lilly, the damaged and doomed girl who fits into what the general public thinks of when they hear the word 'addict', but who is so much more than that, as shown in the kind of forbidden relationship Frey has with her. The books ends with Frey's release from rehab, with a (rather heartbreaking) post-script about what happened to the others we meet throughout the course of the book, once Frey was gone.

The main focus is on the rehab process and the mental state of someone going through it. It doesn't spare any gruesome detail. The part that still stands out to me was when Frey was required to have multiple root canals- all without anaesthesia, because he couldn't have any drugs in his system. I still shudder, thinking about that. Some of the events Frey writes about may be fabrications (or maybe just elaborations), but that doesn't stop it from being a powerful thing to read. Addiction is far flung from my reality, but reading 'A Million Little Pieces' gave me a painful, heartbreaking glimpse at it. It was like getting a slap in the face, one that has stayed with me all these years later. The lack of truth doesn't make the writing any less powerful.

'A Million Little Pieces' can be hard to read (not only because the gruesome details and heavy subject matter) because of its style. It's written with stream of consciousness and with random nouns capitalized. I will admit to finding that annoying, even if I get it (it's being told from the perspective of an addict- it being confusing and oddly written makes sense). Between that and the subject matter, this is a hard read. I won't lie and say I enjoyed 'A Million Little Pieces', but I am glad I read it.



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