This was the most poignant book I have ever come across in my entire readership journey. James Frey, the author, was a raging alcoholic in real life and has spent significant time in rehab after which he wrote this book, about just that. The book starts off with him being a total mess, physically and mentally. After that the books takes us onto James’s journey in rehab. In a highly emotion evoking manner, the author has managed to describe every single thing that he does and feel in exactly the way that he must’ve. While reading the book, you cannot help but feel his pain and anger. His level of frustration, his feeling about that place and everyone in it are described, as I would call it: magically.
For me, James Frey has mastered the art of evoking feelings, and strong ones at that, through the mere arrangements of words. Every single word he writes screams of the good, the bad, the anger and the hurt that he has gone through. A warning though: the descriptions are almost too vivid. Like, when he throws up in a couple of instances in the book, he describes it so well that one cannot help but cringe. Also, he swears. A LOT. But the swearing is set well into the context and one feels that he couldn’t have done it without them.
“The mere ugliness of his descriptions make you want to put the book down for a while.
There are also certain points in the book where it becomes a challenge to go and read further. The mere ugliness of his descriptions make you want to put the book down for a while. But that is the part of the challenge I guess. Do you remember any such one movie in your life that had left you thinking and pondering over it for quite some time? That you couldn’t help but think about it and the emotions evoked during the feature film remained with you for days? This book does exactly that. You may put the book down for a bit when it reaches a point to too much emotion, but you WILL pick it back up. You will want to know more, you will want to feel more of his hurt and pain.
So a challenge it may be, I would say it is worthy. If you like intense, poignant literature, this book is a must read for you. And this is coming from a person who has read the book twice. But then again, I go a bit crazy with intense reads. And this was, hands down, the most intense. So much respect for James Frey. So much respect for everyone who has been through rehab. Give it a read, and tell me if I am wrong, tell me if it is not magic.