I picked up My Friend Leonard by James Frey a few weeks ago in Dubai. It caught my eye because I recently read his first book, A Million Little Pieces.
Here's the thing. This book is horrible.
I'm sure you remember the hubbub over these books. Frey was endorsed by Oprah for A Million Little Pieces... that is until the Smoking Gun revealed that the majority of the book is absolute junk. Still, it was fun to read the book and try to decipher the real from the fake.
By the time I read My Friend Leonard, the novelty had worn off. Before the book begins a note explains to the reader that hefty chunks of the book were made up. Not the best way to start a memoir.
So here's the story:
James is just being released from his fictional jail time. Unfortunately, he's a day too late to prevent his girlfriend from committing suicide. (That's honestly not a spoiler). The rest of the book is James putting his life back together with the help of Leonard, his mobster friend from rehab. James earns money illegally and then decides to be an honest man... trying to make his living as a writer. After a move to Los Angeles James makes an attempt at filmmaking.
Doesn't really sound that interesting, does it? Yeah, it's not. In addition to reading like straight bull****, some of the sentences were actually painful. I could just imagine Frey reading these lines with deep intensity... gross. An example:
"The pain I feel the sadness and sorrow and grief that are with me all day every second in every breath and beat of my heart in every thought in every step in everything I see and hear there is nothing but pain and sadness and sorrow and grief and I know drinking will make it go away."
Yep, that's one sentence.