Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Friend Leonard -- James Frey


I never anticipated for the sequel of any other book other than this (Harry Potter sequels being an exception of course). The first book by Jamey Frey, A Million Little Pieces, blew me away. It was so intense that I was glued to the book at all times! I was actually scolded me (yea by mum) for the way I was engrossed and obsessed with the book. Imagine my happiness when I finally laid hands on ‘My Friend Leonard’. But alas, it was short lived. Reading the prequel was totally effortless. But this book, well, umm, let’s just say it was not such a delightful experience.

The story starts with James being in prison. He keeps himself aloof and strong during his sentence and he just can’t wait to go back to the love of his life, Lily (a fellow addict), once he’s released. Just before he’s released tragedy strikes and he loses Lily. Unable to cope with the loss, he draws into a shell. Till his old friend from rehab, Leonard, gets in touch with him. Leonard was like a father figure to James and took it upon himself to get back James on track. Leonard was involved with businesses that weren’t really ‘legal’. James had no clear picture about what Leonard did, but he knew that he wouldn’t have to face any problem as long as Leonard was looking out for him. And Leonard stood by his word when he said nothing can hurt, harm or bother James. James swore he would change his lifestyle after the horrible rehab and jail stint. How he tries to live a normal, sober life with an occasional help and ‘mentoring’ from Leonard is what this book all about.

To be honest, Leonard was one of my favourite character in ‘A Million Little Pieces’ and I felt like reading more about him. That was the reason I was overjoyed when I came across this. But this book just failed in doing justice to it. The writing style was the same as before. Repetitive lines, incomplete sentences and intentional lack of punctuation. For those who haven't read 'A Million Little Pieces' and are unfamiliar with his writing style, he adopted that style to implicate what exactly was going on his mind as an addict.As a confused,scared, irritated addict, he tried to reflect all that through his writing.While this style suited more in his first book, it was sort of irritating and unnecessary in this one.  James, this time, mentioned that parts of this book are fictional (guess, he learnt a lesson after the experience of the first book). I’m not sure what part in this book is inspired by real life and what part is fictitious. If it was inspired, then I have no right to comment or judge anyone on the way they lived their life but if it was a fictitious work, James could have much better than this! It seemed more about him with just a glimpse of Leonard here and there. Or cameo as they say in movies. There was nothing that told the readers more about Leonard that what they already knew from the previous book. I actually turned each page with a hope that something exciting or interesting comes up. But no, I was more and more disappointed with every page turned. The life which Leonard lived could have provided fodder to produce brilliant books but James made it boring.

There is nothing to look forward to in this sequel. The title was kind of misleading if compared to the story. It should rather have been named something like ‘My Life after Rehab’! To atleast do justice to the title he should have told more about the lead man, Leonard. Wish James had kept his initial charm and had produce yet another riveting book. Things that worked in his favour before let him down in this book. This seemed more like a desperate attempt to write something. James let down big time. L

An avoidable book.

P.S: If you haven’t read ‘A Million Little Pieces’, pick it up straight away and start reading. It is one of the most intense and addictive books I’ve read till now!

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