Tag: Opium

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.

 


Dashiell Hammett – The Dain Curse | Review

Title: The Dain Curse
Author: Dashiel Hammett

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 192

Rating: 1.5/5

 

 

I was looking forward to picking this book up because I’ve read and enjoyed Hammett before and because the title of this one basically has my name in it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as the other Hammett that I’ve read and my overarching feeling while reading this was just boredom. I didn’t care for the characters or the case.

There were a few redeeming moments here and there when it came to the writing, and I also liked the fact that opium was mentioned, which seems to happen a lot in old school murder mysteries. But while this one did have elements of the private eye style that Hammett is known for, it also had a lot of superstition and mystery thrown in which I didn’t really care for.

All in all, this was a struggle for me to complete, and I ended up tackling it as a bedtime book by reading 25 pages at a time. Even then it was a struggle, so I can’t recommend it.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

Click here to buy The Dain Curse.