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My Friend Leonard Hardcover – June 16, 2005
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Be not bold, be f-cking BOLD. Every time you meet someone, make a f-cking impression. Make them think you're the hottest shit in the world. Make them think they're gonna lose their job if they don't give you one. Look 'em in the eye, and never look away. Be confident and calm, be f-cking bold.
Hurricane Leonard storms into James's life, showering his young charge with multi-course feasts at steakhouses and Italian restaurants, courtside seats at Bulls' games, Cuban cigars, and an elaborate Super Bowl party in Los Angeles, all the while doling out wisdom on life and love and motivating James to stick to his burgeoning writing career. James even has a brief stint as an employee of Leonard's, though occupational hazards--like having a nine millimeter shoved in his face--prove too much for the novice bag man (though he does make enough to invest his earnings in a Picasso drawing). When Leonard drops out of sight for an extended period, his absence leaves readers aching to hear the familiar refrain of "My Son!" just one more time.
Frey sticks to the taut, staccato style that shot through A Million Little Pieces with such raw electricity. Surprisingly, the tone feels equally at home with this book's focus on friendship and extreme loyalty, and works to intensify the always-looming, adrenaline-rush threat of violence and the lure of the Fury that courses like a riptide throughout the book. Ultimately, it's a sense of hope, and humor even, that prevails and makes My Friend Leonard a stand-alone success. Despite his shady pedigree, you'll long to have a friend like Leonard just a phone call away. --Brad Thomas Parsons
James Frey's List of Books You Should Read
Tropic of Cancer
The Great Santini
See more recommendations from James Frey
Amazon.com's Significant Seven
James Frey graciously agreed to answer the questions we like to ask every author: the Amazon.com Significant Seven.
Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Tao te Ching by Lao Tsu. Completely changed how I think, behave, live my life. Nothing else comes close.
Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: The book would be the Tao te Ching, the CD would be some compilation of love songs from the 70s and 80s, and the DVD would be highlights from the history of the Cleveland Browns.
Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: No way I can answer that.
Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: I've been working at the same desk since I started writing. It's old and beaten-up and black. The rest of my workroom is empty, except for some crazy sh-- on the wall in front of me: pictures of people I admire, reproductions of artwork I dig, sayings that motivate me, things like--bare your soul, be bold, page a day motherfu--er page a day. I listen to music while I work, have a pile of nicotine gum and a couple cans of diet coke. My dogs are usually a couple feet away from me. I've always worked this way, probably always will.
Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: "Loved, lost, laughed, left."
Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: Winston Churchill
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
From Publishers Weekly
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Then MFL arrives and I read it quickly. It lends itself to being read quickly because it is so repetitive. I agree with other reviews that say his style works much better as an addict than as a person who is distanced from that addiction. This style becomes difficult and tedious. I tire of it I take a break from reading I care less about what happens to the characters get a cold tasty cola. Skip a few pages. The writing becomes a parody of itself at times. It worked before but it doesn't in this book. In the "real world" Leonard becomes a much less believable character to me. Snapper is one dimensional at best. I lose interest in his loves he can't get it up with his beautiful new girlfriend he won't tell her why he still misses Lilly cries buys flowers cries. We hug. We seperate. We order steak, creamed spinach and a nice cold tasty cola.
OK, you get it. I'm disappointed I hoped for better I feel like it was made up makes the first book less believable stop now stop stop.
Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Forget that this story is just SO unbelievable from Day 1. I know the disclaimer says they changed names and sequences of events - but every character in this book rings untrue. From Lilly, the crack whore who hangs herself hours before James can make it to her side... Porterhouse, the 300-lb, illiterate murderer who laughs and cries at the classic stories James reads him ... to Leonard, James' mobster "father" who is so touched by art in galleries that tears stream down his face. Let's not forget his wisecracking bodyguard/driver, Snapper. The girl from one of the top families in town dating James even though he has no job and no pedigree. Good Lord! These characters could come right out the screenplay Christopher Moltisanti wrote in the first season of The Sopranos.
The dialogue is some of the worst I've ever read. "James, I want you to be my son. I will introduce you as my son and you will be treated as such. All I ask in return is that you keep me involved in your life. If you ever have any issues with your real father, I must insist you defer to him." "I will send fresh red roses every week to this grave!" I found myself wincing at some of it.
I know as a frat boy, Frey probably dreamt of running with the tough guys, and this is his way of realizing that dream. However, he should admit this is just fiction. James admitted he never spent any real time in jail. It's not a memoir in the way that the book-buying public thinks of the genre, and it's really bad as fiction.
(Note: I have read "Pieces" was first pitched to publishers as a novel with no takers - it was the suggestion of his shameless agent to classify it as a memoir instead.)
I opened this book and after a few pages I had to put it back down - everything I'd read dealt with his experiences in jail - everything was a lie. I felt literally sickened with doubt with each paragraph I read, knowing if something as crucial to his story as his jail time never happened, was there going to be any truth to the rest of this book? Did larger-than-life Leonard from the first book even exist? And how in the world did broken and pitiful Lilly commit suicide after his five hour release from jail... in the figments of the newly wealthy Mr. Frey's mind? Furthermore, according to "Pieces" both characters/people died; there is no way to substantiate their existance unless some long-lost relatives or friends of the deceased come forward to defend Mr. Frey (unlikely because Leonard conveniently had mob ties, and Lilly's grandmother passed away).
I couldn't bring myself to continue on with the book - a first for me - not when every sentence read would now be construed with suspicion and doubt. It suddenly wasn't worth the effort. I've always finished the books I've started, knowing there would be at least some merit to them by the end... or else they wouldn't have been published in the first place. Or so I naively thought. (Time for me to grow up a little??) In this case I believe this book was published for the simple reason it would make money for the publisher, Mr. Frey, and his agent - readers be damned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I dislike that some people are reviewing this book based off of its verity. Even if Frey was not 100% truthful in his writing, and though I was disappointed myself to learn that it... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Anna S.
Just as good if not better than a million little fibers. Fast shipping and gone book was in great condition. Thank you.Published 1 month ago by John
Found the beginning a little fractured but once I was a third in it became a good read, same stilted style as a Million Little PiecesPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was a must to read after reading "A Million Pieces" Both are excellent booksPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
James Frey is such a satisfying read. Leonard caught me by surprise and finished the book with a quiet cry. Very moving.Published 5 months ago by Neely Coyote McCormick