Tag: Irvine Welsh

James Frey – A Million Little Pieces | Review

Title: A Million Little Pieces

Author: James Frey

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 518

Rating: 4.25/5

I was given this as a birthday present from someone who’d read it themselves and enjoyed it and who’d seen that it was on my ridiculously large want to readlist. I don’t actually get given books that often because more often than not, I end up resenting them because I feel as though I have to read them whether I want to or not. But as this was off my big old list, we dodged that problem.

I think I first heard about this on BookTube, although I can’t remember who was talking about it. It basically instantly went on to my wish list because it’s a non-fiction drug book and I’ve always been partial to books about drugs. I even quite like it when you get references to opium in stuff like The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy falls asleep in a field of poppies.

Because I find the subject matter interesting, I was pretty much guaranteed to like this one. However, there are some other factors that come into play too. For example, the dialogue is written without quotation marks or indeed any form of punctuation, which some people might offputting. It’s the first thing I noticed when flicking through it and that, combined with a blurb from Irvine Welsh on the back, made me think it might be a tricky read. It turns out to actually work better and to flow more smoothly like that.

I guess that’s because of the style of the book. It’s written as a sort of stream-of-consciousness memoir and reads as though Frey is just chatting to you at a bar, and so this style of punctuation is perfect. At the same time though, I’m sure it’s not quite to everyone’s tastes, and that’s okay. And besides, if you like drug stories but you can’t deal with the punctuation, there’s always the movie version, which I’ll probably watch at some point or another.

Other than that, I’m not sure that there’s much more that I can tell you. I think as long as you have an interest in the subject matter – that of a recovering addict trying to get clean – and you don’t mind dialogue when it’s oddly formatted, you’re in for a treat. I will say that he spends the majority of the book either thinking about drugs or wishing he was dead, and so it can sometimes feel a little samey, but that can’t really be helped due to the subject matter and you have to respect the honesty.

Overall then, I’d definitely recommend this one, especially if you have an interest in drug and addiction memoirs. Otherwise, if you’re worried about trigger warnings or if it just makes you unhappy to read about stuff like this then maybe give it a miss. You’d be missing out on a good read, but it’s also a difficult one that can be quite confrontational too. As for me, I’m glad that I read it. A good gift!

Learn more about A Million Little Pieces.

 


Irvine Welsh – Porno | Review

Title: Porno

Author: Irvine Welsh

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 486

Rating 4/5

 

 

This is a heavy old read, but what else would you expect from Irvine Welsh? In fact, because the print in this thing is so small, it felt as though it was longer than it was, so I ended up reading it over the course of a month or so, 25 pages at a time in bed. It’s pretty weird bedtime reading, but it was also a good way of doing it because it meant that the story unfolded in real time.

This is the book that the second Trainspotting movie is based on, and indeed it is a sequel, at least in that it follows the same characters. In this one, Sick Boy decides he’s going to make a porn movie, and we follow what happens as he starts shooting and editing the thing. Renton comes back from Amsterdam to help with the funding, and Begbie has been released from jail and is out for blood and vengeance.

There was good and bad to this, but I think that the good mostly overpowered the bad and made this one worth reading. My main complaint with it would be the ending, and even then it’s not as though I didn’t like what happened. It’s more that it felt rushed, especially the last ten pages or so, but then I’m also not sure I could have kept on reading it for too much longer.

 

 

What I did like is that we get to see a whole bunch of familiar faces including “Juice” Terry Lawson, who’s one of my favourite of Welsh’s creations. I also feel as though there were one or two minor characters that I’d come across from Welsh’s short stories, although I couldn’t swear by that. He builds these super realistic worlds which are arguably so realistic because he grounds them in our reality.

So all in all then, I was pretty happy with this one, although as I said, it’s not one that I’d recommend going into lightly. The tiny print and the Scottish dialect combine to make it a challenge, although Welsh also does a good job of spacing out the dialect-heavy sections with other sections that are written in regular English. These sections also allow us to see what’s happening from a few different points of view, and that’s cool because it allows us to get a different take on what’s happening.

Would I recommend this? Sure, if you’re an Irvine Welsh fan, but you ought to read Trainspotting first. I also don’t think that they’re the best of Welsh’s books (my favourite is Marabou Stork Nightmares), so it’s not exactly the perfect place to start. But if you’re a fan of Welsh’s writing then you’re going to get more of what you love here. And I’m glad my cat picked this out.


 

 

Click here to buy Porno.

 


Newsletter Signup

Get special offers, new book news, cover reveals and more!