Everyone remembers the controversy surrounding A Million Little Pieces, James Frey’s first book. Published as a memoir, it was later revealed that much of the book was fabricated to protect those Frey wrote about.
In the end, however, the controversy doesn’t matter. Frey’s books A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard did what all good books should do: they evoked emotion, touched long forgotten places inside of us and inspired people to live better lives.
So despite the controversy, I was excited to get my hands on Bright Shiny Morning. I wanted the book to be wonderful, breath taking, as incredible as A Million Little Pieces. Thankfully, Bright Shiny Morning is so much more than that.
Bright Shiny Morning, Frey’s first work of fiction, is a novel about people living their lives in the fast paced city of L.A. It’s told in James Frey’s typical breath taking, beautiful prose and pulls you right in.
The book isn’t an ordinary novel as can be expected with Frey’s writing. Instead of a linear narrative, we are presented with a few reoccurring characters:
Dylan and Maddie, two teenagers who are madly in love. They run away to be together and find out about the darker side of life and love too soon.
Esperanza, a Mexican American, who takes a job as a maid in the house of Ms. Campbell, a woman so mean and rude that she borders on being abusive.
Amberton Parker, famous award winning actor who hides a secret so incredible that it could ruin his career if it was released.
Joe, a homeless man, who befriends a fifteen year old girl who is new to the streets and addicted to meth.
Sprinkled through out their stories are vignettes of other people, other characters who fill the city streets. As well, we learn factoids about Los Angels, about the city that serves not only as a backdrop for this novel but is essentially the largest character in the book.
James Frey has penned no mere novel. Instead he has given us one of the most intense studies of human nature. In this book is pure emotion sprawled across the page for us to read and it almost seems unseemly, looking into the characters lives as we do.
What I love most about Frey’s writing is that it’s real, it evokes emotion, it haunts you after you’ve turned the last page and closed the book. This is the true power of the written word, the ability to stay with the reader after the book is finished.
Frey has this in spades.
In Bright Shiny Morning, Frey proves that he is not only the subject of controversy. He is a writer and a true wordsmith. Bright Shiny Morning is, hands down, one of the best novels I have ever read. Ever.
If you haven’t read this yet, what are you waiting for? You have no idea what you’re missing.