This book kind of pisses me off, kind of. Anyway, you should read it, if not for anything else then at least for the controversy surrounding it. I guess the guy James, who coincidentally reminded me of an alcoholic I once dated also named James, made up parts of the entire non-fiction memoir. He got baited by Oprah (poor guy–not really). And the funniest part of it all, after a heated law suit it was determined by the publisher that readers could get a full refund of the book by presenting their original receipt, and a ripped out page 165 (in some basement somewhere there’s a HUGE ripped out pile of Frey’s page 165s–or maybe he wanted them back personally), with a signed affidavit that they we’re essentially ‘scarred’ by the intentional misleading facts within the book. If you did that, you are crazier than the author.
Like any good author though, Frey said that he did feel the facts within the book were ‘true’ for him because that’s how he felt or acted in his own mind, essentially he related his perceived persona versus factual experiences–coo koo AND brilliant (I bet his publisher thought up that one after consulting a literary theorist at Yale).
All of that said, there are parts of this novel that really resonated with me, I even shed a tear or two by the end (which I never would have imagined). Like this one,
If you understand that all things change constantly, there is nothing that you will hold on to, all things change….Trying to control the future is like trying to take the place of the Master Carpenter. When you handle the Master Carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand….Knowing other people is intelligence, knowing yourself is wisdom. Mastering other people is strength, mastering yourself is power. If you realize that what you have is enough, you are rich truly rich. Stay in the center and embrace peace, simplicity, patience and compassion.
If you want to shrink something, you must first expand it. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must allow it to be given. The soft will overcome the hard. The slow will beat the fast. Don’t tell people the way, just show them the results.
As James learns to embrace these principals, he begins to heal. He’s an addict, I am not. I’ve known addicts, though. One thing you learn from the novel, the most important thing I would argue, is that we all have a piece of addict within us. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
The Manifesto says, OPEN YOUR MIND, ARMS, AND HEART TO NEW THINGS AND PEOPLE.
James meets a girl in rehab, Lilly, he loves her very much. When she is scared or alone, he tells her, “Remember the word Ever.” Ever means always, he means to tell her that he will always love her but I think it means more than that too. It references this earlier continuum of life, throughout life we must EVER open our souls to the people and things that are around us. It is in this that the Million Little Pieces come together to make something whole–love. Love is being whole.