Tag: Offputting

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.

 


Stephen King – On Writing | Review

Title: On Writing

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 368

Rating: 5*/5

 

Stephen King - On Writing

Stephen King – On Writing

 

I’ve been a fan of Stephen King for the best part of ten years now, and while I’ve known about this book for a while I’ve been putting it off. I think it’s because it seems like such an obvious choice for me to read that the fact that I hadn’t was somehow offputting and I just left it until the problem got worse and worse and eventually I could no longer ignore it.

I ahouldn’t have waited so long. This book is weird but in a good way, a fascinating cross between a how-to book on the subject of writing from the master himself and a memoir that details how many of his most well-known books came about. In many ways, I’m glad that I waited a while to read it because it meant that I’d read a lot of the books that he talks about writing, and that made this one feel much more exciting and engaging.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only of interest to those who have an interest in both writing and the work of Stephen King, though. You could pick this up as your first book of his and still enjoy it whether you’re a writer or not, but you’re going to enjoy it so much more if you’re a writer or even if you just have a passion for the English language. In fact, it could even work well if you’re a film maker or in some other related art. Anything to do with telling a story.

All in all then, I still can’t believe that I waited so long to read this but I’m happy that I finally got to it. I had a kind of fear that I’d read this and it would so fundamentally change my approach to writing that it would make everything I’ve done in the past irrelevant. It didn’t do that, which is good, but it has given me plenty of ideas that I’m looking forward to putting it into practice. I feel like the stuff on agents is less relevant now, though.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

Click here to buy On Writing.