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Showing 1-10 of 162 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 508 reviews
on September 4, 2013
I purchased this book for my mother-in-law (to be) knowing that it was the book following A Million Little Pieces, which I enjoyed. I took this book with me to jury duty (oh what fun!) and had absolutely nothing better then to sit in a chair and read, or I could play my NintendoDS. Well, needless to say, after about 130 pages I just couldn't do it any longer. It was SOOOO booorrriiinnngggg! I mean I was extremely bored and annoyed as it is because I'm clearly sitting in this room of other potential jurors who are just as bored and annoyed as I am for 9 hours a day. You'd think I would've taken what I had and ran with it. Nope, I'd rather watch paint dry then read this book- it was terrible. It really makes me think, too, because A Million Little Pieces was so enjoyable to me and I related tremendously to it. This one, not so much.

What little I did read about the main characters love affair wasn't at all enticing. The only emotion I felt throughout the 130ish pages that I read was sympathy... I know it is very hard living in this world with nothing but the clothes on your back. It was quite odd that his friend just lent him 25,000$- which makes me think that this story was also one of Frey's phonies (A Million Little Pieces turned out to be fictional, although it was supposed to be a memoir, of sorts). I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Sorry Frey, I wasn't pleased with this one particularly. I tried!
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on July 17, 2013
Having now read three of James Frey's four published works (not counting that weird pseudonym-series about the X-Men kids or whatever they are), I have come to consider myself a solidified fan. I care not what he made up or exaggerated in the controversial best-seller A Million Little Pieces, because that's still a damn good book, and his talent for minimalist prose is hard to ignore. My Friend Leonard is a `kind-of' follow-up novel, picking up shortly after where A Million Little Pieces left off to find James Frey writing in the first person about a somewhat-fictionalized version of himself.

It begins with Frey in jail for a brief period following his completion of drug and alcohol rehab, then getting out of jail and receiving some horrific news (this news is actually revealed in the epilogue of AMLP, but further detail is given in this narrative). In the aftermath of an event that severely rattles James's recently-free-from-jail existence, he comes dangerously close to undoing everything he accomplished in rehab by dealing with extreme temptation to drink again (which would inevitably lead to harder substances). This battle with the harsh echoes of Frey's past addiction are prominent in the first half of the story, and he even keeps a sealed bottle of cheap wine with him at all times as a reminder to not drink; a defiant expression of great willpower to refuse alcohol, even though it is available to him every moment.

Before long, Leonard is introduced: a charming, handsome, mysteriously wealthy fifty-something whom James had met and befriended while they were in rehab together. Leonard seeks Frey out and expresses a desire to `adopt' him in a way; to look out for James and care for him in a father-like relationship. Mind you, Frey is jobless and completely broke upon leaving jail, meanwhile fighting grief and teetering on the edge of falling back into addiction. Leonard has a particular fondness for James, as well as the means to provide for him, so their relationship is taken to a new level which changes James's life in some big ways. Leonard even takes to calling James `My son' for the remainder of the book, and while Frey finds this somewhat silly and strange, he is thankful to have such a generous friend in a dark time.

James makes his way through several ultra low-end jobs, including one as a bouncer at a dive bar. Eventually he is offered a position by Leonard, a position that is very loose and undefined, even a bit shady. James earns a great deal of money by running `errands' for Leonard, though he spends very little of it and does not count his wealth as much.

This description so far probably sounds very simple and rather uninteresting. The narrative is simple, but not in a boring or pointless way. It is, at the heart, the story of a man unfolding and coming to a place where he is finally taking care of himself, growing up, and finding joy in places other than self-destruction. This comes through great pain and loss, but the redemptive quality is thus all the more sweet. This is also the story of a deep and sacred friendship, one that mirrors the best father/son scenario one could imagine.

James Frey's writing is loose and minimalist in the sense that he intentionally excludes most punctuation, save periods and commas, and also utilizes multiple run-on sentences. While these two qualities may sound like simply the bad habits of a lazy writer, they are executed so well that it ends up giving the piece a very stark, human-thought-process sort of realism. When things get intense or very sad and the character smashes four or five sentences into one mad dash, the severity of the moment is felt because that's the way our minds tend to blur everything together under stress. At other points his dialogue is defined by beautiful, subtle honesty, and it is through the conversations in the book (including the ones going on in James's head) that really bring out the true attributes of each character.

My Friend Leonard was an easy read and a poetic delight. The story is plain in subject, but rich in character, delicate observation, and authentic interactions. Like everything I've read from Frey, there is great humor in this story, as well as loss and sadness that are gripping around your heart to rip it violently out of your chest. Again, this is how life is, is it not?

If you've not read A Million Little Pieces, I would recommend being introduced to Frey's work that way, though it is not necessary material to enjoy My Friend Leonard as a stand-alone. Either way, I would highly recommend any and all of his books to any reader with an appreciation for real people going through real circumstances interlaced with lovely prose and keen observation.
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on August 6, 2017
****** SPOILER ALERT********

Love this book even more than a million pieces! The reason for 4 /5 stas is because he married the neighbor girl! He didn't even explain or go into detail about how and when. Other then that it was perfect.
I do feel bad for his wife though because if she reads this she will read some pretty awful stuff about past gfs
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on June 18, 2017
James Frey books are my favorites. I love A Million Little Pieces first, then this after. Both are amazing books. I love his writing style and I do not care whats true and whats not but he tells the heart and soul of an addict. He shows the tough life of trying to overcome addiction.
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on September 22, 2017
Sequel to A Million Little Pieces, which I loved. This is as good or better. James Frey tells his stories like is is sitting at my kitchen table. This one touched me greatly. Real love, real emotions, real fear of not being good enough. Authentic.
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on October 24, 2008
'My Good Friend Leonard' is sort of the "next chapter(s)" in the story of James Frey after his stint in rehab. The story starts off right after he gets out of rehab. The beginning is about Lilly. The rest of the book is about him just getting his life back together and finding mundane jobs, trying to stay sober and how his friend Leonard impacts his life and supports him just as a father should.

Some of the story gets a tad slow in the middle, but toward the end it does move better. Personally I enjoy James Frey's style of writing although the editor in me kind of gets annoyed with the run on sentences and missing commas and periods, but he is utilizing the same style of storytelling as in 'A Million Little Pieces.' I think that his style had more impact in his first novel rather than in this one, but it's very "him" and I like it.

I was very interested to read about James' life and how he did turn things around for himself and I found myself continuing to be interested throughout 'My Friend Leonard.' I felt all of the emotions he wanted me to feel in the end and I enjoy the fact that James knows how to tell his story in his own words. I like that he touched my heart in his portrayal of Leonard and it almost feels like I knew Leonard myself.

I highly recommend reading this especially if you enjoyed 'A Million Little Pieces' because it just completes his first novel and gives us some closure.
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on November 24, 2008
Despite the fact of know that this book was a fiction, I read it. It was actually a lot better because it had scenarios where it could be completely believable that it was real. I think the guy who wrote this book, James Frey, made him popular, yes, but also because he let it slip that the story was nonfiction a lot of people felt betrayed by him. I did enjoy the book though. This product kept me entertained for a couple hours.

Actually, I learned that his book is based off of Eddie Little's novels. And the fact that he basically took someone else's writing and re-wrote it is extremely bogus.
It is interesting how is Frey is compared to the characters in the book, because he didn't experience anything that he claimed he had. The fact that he actually stole it from someone else made him even worse.

He was bogus from beginning to end, and because of someone else, he was a great success. It was a good book, so the credit should go to Eddie Little, who actually suffered through everything, who actually experienced all that he experienced. In the end, Frey failed and Little succeeded.
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on December 14, 2012
This book was a surprisingly enjoyable read. After being bitterly disappointed with A Million Little Pieces, I threw caution to the wind and read MFL. At first Frey's staccato style of writing is quite annoying - there is no elegant prose here - but you quickly overlook his simplistic style and get hooked in by this very compelling story. Whether it is true or not, does not matter, because it has such a fabulous story line. Unfortunately I was aware of the ending from reading other reviews, but nonetheless, it was still very heart wrenching. A few tears were shed when this book ended, and perhaps revealed that the simplistic writing style was the perfect canvas after all for the substratum of such a moving book. Enjoy.
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on March 19, 2013
Wonderful sequel to A Million Little Pieces -- which I knew was fiction when I read it. This follows one of the men after release from drug rehab, and how he helped all he met there after they were each released. A wonderful book, and I hope to read more by James Frey in the future!
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on January 25, 2016
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 was not completely true, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and A Million Little Pieces and think it is definitely worth reading for anyone who is considering it.
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