Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Live & Die in LA (Book Review)

James Frey - Bright Shiny Morning B+
Publication Date: May 13, 2008

When this book came out a few years ago I thought I heard something about Frey doing his book tour dates with a full band...? At the time that seemed cool but awfully presumptuous, especially after the Oprah scandal and such. But it turns out that a grandiose book tour is quite appropriate for what happened to be a very ambitious book.

Bright Shiny Morning is a little bit of a mess and could stand to be shorter, however there's few dull moments and plenty to sink your teeth into. The novel evoked plenty of emotions because much of it is about broken dreams in a city where only the ruthless, rich and lucky survive.
Being a dreamer myself this was very disheartening.

Back in 2008 USA Today critic Deirdre Donahue wrote that Morning reads like something "Oliver Stone wrote and Quentin Tarantino directed". The novel is full of parallel story lines that mainly follow these central characters: a homeless man, an Oscar winning actor, a young Hispanic woman with unusually large thighs and a young couple from Ohio. But there's more, more characters, fun facts, not so fun facts, descriptions, lists, etc... If this was musical album it would be a box set.

In his first official novel Frey shows up and throws up. Once you weed through some of the filler you're left with one hell of a novel/fictional history lesson of Los Angeles.

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