A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Main Characters: James, Leonard, Lilly, Miles, Hank
Setting: A Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation facility
Main theme: How a person deals with drug and alcohol addiction while in an institution

Summary Chapter 1-5:

The book opens with the narrator, James, waking up on an airplane. He is bleeding, missing four teeth, and has a broken nose. He doesn't know how he got these injuries or where he is going. They tell him that a concerned friend of his contacted them and that his injuries were the result of a fall down a fire escape. James has no recollection of this. James's parents and brother drive him to a rehabilitation clinic. James has three roommates—Larry, Warren, and John. James believes that it's better if no one gets too close to him, since he views himself as a destructive, damaging force with very little to contribute to anyone's life. He is convinced that believing in AA is just exchanging one addiction for another. He embarks on his journey in rehab, always thinking at anytime that he will be leaving because rehab is ‘not for him'. Not a good start seeing how badly he needs some kind of help.

Summary Chapter 6-10:

James's brother Bob and two friends, Julie and Kirk, come to visit him at the clinic. They bring him presents: cigarettes, chocolate, clothes, and books. They watch some football together and then go for a walk in the woods, where they meet Lilly and her grandmother. Bob, Julie, and Kirk urge James to try and get better and give him a list of people who have asked about him. Lilly is a girl that James meets in the clinic although he has little to no contact with her besides fleeting visits that they chance every here and there. The next day James's new job is making coffee for the group, a clear sign that he has progressed and moved further up the clinic ladder. James's psychology test results reveal that he is highly intelligent and angry and has low self-esteem. Joanne, (his therapist) tries to convince him to accept the Twelve Step program, which is solely accountable for the success rate of the facility, but James refuses.

Summary Chapter 11-15:

Joanne and James talk about the Twelve Step program. James still refuses to follow it. He hints that he does not like churches and priests.

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Joanne insists that the program is not about God. James is being stubborn in his beliefs, however he seems to be coming around somewhat. As life settles into a routine for James at the facility, he begins to explore more spiritual questions and seek deeper answers than he's pursued before. Joanne's conversation with James sets the stage for him to question the idea of a faith and a God who may be able to help him through the process of healing. But it's not until Ken reveals that his parents are arriving that James really feels a need to find a calm place.

Summary Chapter 16-20:

James meets with his Parents and finds out that he is wanted in many different states for many minor and some major warrants. He starts to fear what will happen to him when he leaves the clinic, and at this point decides it is not worth the worry as he probably won't make it out alive as it is.

Summary Chapter 21-25

James finds out that Lilly's grandmother is very sick and Lilly leaves the rehab facility to go and get high. James leaves the clinic without a word and encounters Hank outside and Hank decides to help him drive to a crack house to retrieve Lilly. James finds Lilly and gets in to an altercation with the crack dealer and picks Lilly up and carries her out to the van. Lilly is disgusted with herself and ashamed of what James may think of her now. They get back to the clinic and they let James and Lilly back in with little explanation.

Summary Chapter 26-30

James' time at the clinic comes to a close and he decides that life is worth one more shot at living. He also understands that he will need to face his charges and spend jail time for his offenses. James is not scared, and he is grateful for the time spent in the clinic getting to know himself and his thought processes. He knows that this ‘recovery' thing is not going to be easy and that he has a 1 in 10 chance for failure. However, he walks out of the clinic with his Brother and Best friend with his best fighting face on. Lets hope that this rehab visit will stick…

What did I like best about this story?

I liked the fact that the Author was not sugar coating his experiences. That he truly believed himself worthless and unworthy of any other persons affections or empathy. I like that kept it real (in a fictional way…) and let the reader have it with all of the brutality and sickness that addiction brings with it. I truly believe that even if he was not writing from personal experience, he was defiantly writing along side someone that has truly faced this disease as it is an all to real rendition of what I see as detox and recovery.
I applaud his memoirs and hope readers will see beyond his fabrications and look more the obvious point of the book.

List 5 vocabulary words that I looked up for this book, and their definitions:

1: to remove a harmful substance (as a poison or toxin) or the effect of such from: to render (a harmful substance) harmless
2 : to free (as a drug user or an alcoholic) from an intoxicating or an addictive substance in the body or from dependence on or addiction to such a substance

1 a : to restore to a former capacity : b : to restore to good repute : reestablish the good name of
2 a : to restore to a former state (as of efficiency, good management, or solvency) b : to restore or bring to a condition of health or useful and constructive activity

1 a : of, relating to, or caused by alcohol b : containing alcohol
2 : affected with

1 : to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events
2 : to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or circumstance
3 a : to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification b : to interfere with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning)
4 : to occur or lie between two things
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