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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Think He's A Great Writer
I know the book and it's predecessor are all a big heap of lies, but if you approach it as strictly fiction, there's no denying the guy's a really great writer.Frey's frenetic style is the same as in "...Pieces", and although it's not the brutal foray into addiction recovery, it still manages to be both compelling and fast paced, as he pieces his life together after rehab...
Published on May 23, 2006 by Brett Benner

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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, this book makes the first book less believable.
Like many others, I found out about James Frey through Oprah and her book club. I read A Million Little Pieces quickly and intensely. I didn't question it at the time. I just wanted to finish it and see what happened to all the interesting characters. I immediately bought the follow-up and had it delivered with the 2 day option. I couldn't wait for the book to...
Published on December 2, 2005 by Jason Smith


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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, this book makes the first book less believable., December 2, 2005
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This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
Like many others, I found out about James Frey through Oprah and her book club. I read A Million Little Pieces quickly and intensely. I didn't question it at the time. I just wanted to finish it and see what happened to all the interesting characters. I immediately bought the follow-up and had it delivered with the 2 day option. I couldn't wait for the book to arrive. Then, I started thinking more about AMLP and wondering how true some of the parts might be, like the part where they have the boxing match and the authorities leave and they are allowed to bet and eat as much as they want from a catered company. I started to realize there might be some over-elaboration from Frey. Maybe he made some of it up, maybe a lot more than some of it.

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.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forget the controversy - this is just bad writing, January 13, 2006
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This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
(...)
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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Think He's A Great Writer, May 23, 2006
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Brett Benner (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
I know the book and it's predecessor are all a big heap of lies, but if you approach it as strictly fiction, there's no denying the guy's a really great writer.Frey's frenetic style is the same as in "...Pieces", and although it's not the brutal foray into addiction recovery, it still manages to be both compelling and fast paced, as he pieces his life together after rehab and continues forging his relationship with gangster Leonard. Moralizing about integrity and honesty aside, I'll be interested to see what Frey produces next regardless of whether it's in the fiction, bio, or big fat liar section
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He's just not a very good writer, January 21, 2006
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
There are aspects of James Frey's writing that standout. For example, like any good writer, the book opens with a bang. Literally! Writing in first person, Frey describes getting hit in the head by another inmate.

But ultimately, the book drags on in too many places. And, recent accusations of fraud aside, the book truly lacks verisimilitude. It's almost like Frey is telling a story like it happened to him, but is actually a friend's tale.

One of the larger problems I have with the book is Frey's grammatical style. With no paragraph indentations and no quote marks separating the dialogue, it's almost like Frey is trying to channel the beatnik writers of the 1960's. And doing a poor job of it. Overall, it's a rather forgettable read.

And I just keep getting this feeling, like the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, that this is just some farce, and that only about 20% of what Frey claims happened to him actually happened to him. And he's laughing all the way to the bank.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars [sound of air escaping from balloon], December 27, 2005
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
A sad thing happens somewhere in the middle of this book: you learn that James Frey is a screenwriter and a producer and a director and you begin to question almost every sentence. Did it happen? Or does it simply make for a good story? Like others, I found the ending to be completely contrived--perhaps real, but related in a way that stinks of Hollywood. I put the book down and wished I had stopped at A Million Little Pieces, which was devastatingly brilliant whether contrived or not.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars POP QUIZ, January 14, 2006
By 
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
1) Is Porterhouse..?

a) A hardened criminal.

b) A thick, juicy steak.

c) A figment of James Frey's imagination.

2) Is "My Friend Leonard"..?

a) A great literary work of non-fiction.

b) A guy who played Spock on Star Trek.

c) The main character in a book that begins with James Frey getting beat up by a thick, juicy steak.

3) Is James Frey..?

a) A rough 'n tumble, yet tender 'n honest ex-addict.

b) The "best writer of our generation."

c) A liar.
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Heartbroken, Dismayed, and Deceived, January 19, 2006
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This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
I bought this book wanting to know more about Mr. Frey's life after "Pieces." Unfortunately, before I had a chance to pick the book up, the lies he told were revealed by The Smoking Gun.

(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.
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52 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's time that Frey is exposed, January 27, 2006
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
Frey got those anecdotes the no-risk way: he stole them from a real druggie/criminal author. A much better and more honest one, a guy named Eddie Little-specifically, Frey looted Little's great debut novel, Another Day in Paradise.

Little wrote a column called "Outlaw L.A." that ran when Frey was living in LA writing bad movies (eg Loving A Fool). I think Ruth's hunch was right: Frey, like the thief and conman he is, read Little's column, then his book, and started stealing. Naturally, he cut the key element of Little's books: the unhappy endings. The fake transformations suckers demand.

Another lie, those transformations; people live and die as unvaryingly as insects. Frey himself illustrates this perfectly. He was a yuppie schemer from birth, a trust-fund bum with a roof rat's adaptive, though repellent traits: a rat cunning and lack of shame.

Since Frey knows nothing about drugs and cares nothing for truth, he opts for the most lurid, criminal version of druggie life. He knows you pious hypocrites love that stuff. So he stole Little's stories, carefully leaving out all the good parts. See, that's the key: y'all like Frey not despite his weakness as a writer but because of it.

Compare his stories with Little's and you'll see this. Little generates horror and triumph without resorting to tearjerking; Frey zooms to the weepy scenes, too ignorant to fake the details he doesn't know and too cynical to care about filling in his crude narrative.

Compare outcomes: Little paid for his knowledge of junkie-dom and died a junkie's death; Frey stole Little's scars, tears and knowledge, skipped the weird stuff and sold you a cut-and-paste tale of tears ending with redemption, a hymn with a lot of curse words to cut the treacly taste.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Non-fiction?, January 13, 2006
By 
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
Please explain to people how you can still have this posted on your website as nonfiction, when we know now that it is exaggerated and not true?
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My Fabricated Friend Leonard, January 14, 2006
By 
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Hardcover)
It is sad to see so many people duped by James Frey, especially when many of those people are vulnerable. Mr. Frey is yet another con artist preying on the emotions of the public. How tragic to hear that people are using Mr. Frey's life experiences as a model for recovery. Tragic, that is, because we now know that those life experiences were simply fabricated by Mr. Frey.

Lies are lies and should not be told. In "My Friend Leonard," we have Mr. Frey telling more tall tales and lining his pockets in the process. Do not buy this book unless you are buying it out of curiosity for how a fraud can become a millionaire.
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My Friend Leonard
My Friend Leonard by James Frey (Hardcover - May 9, 2005)
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