James Frey, Bright Shiny Morning
Regardless of all the controversy over James Frey, I really enjoyed reading his first two books, A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. Both well written, page turners and interesting stories. I could care less if a Million Little Pieces wasn’t exactly true but then again what story is? There are about 10 sides to every story and even what you individually remember isn’t always accurate. Bottom line, the guy had a huge abuse problem and got to the other side and wrote a book about it. He is a helluva writer.
I picked up Bright Shiny Morning the day it came out. Loved it. The book is so brilliantly put together. Describing Los Angeles through stories of different characters who have found their way to Los Angeles all for different reasons. His description of their lives as they fill the vast landscape of LA. The four stories of Esperanza (the Mexican American), Joe ( the Venice vagrant), Dylan and Maddie ( the teenage runaways from Ohio ) and Amberton ( the Hollywood star living a phony life ) are all intertwined though separate.
I also loved how Frey gave the history of Los Angeles over the course of the book from the beginnings in the 1800′s to now. The variety of facts and figures he wrote about over time from how many museums, laws that exist, people who live there, gas that is consumed, Veterans Hospital stats, etc. A real overview of Los Angeles. Clever. I have spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and he really does a great job of giving the reader real insight into the city at large.
I particularly liked the first page which carried the disclaimer, he wrote "nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable". Made me laugh out loud.
Regardless of all the brouhaha over his first book, Bright Shiny Morning proves what I have known all along. James Frey is a great writer and his insight and writings on Los Angeles is a worthwhile read.