from Strange Reaction

James Frey Interview

About a decade back I heard about a book called A Million Little Pieces. Everybody seemed to be talking about it everywhere I went. Finally a year after it came out I picked up a copy and started reading it while I was in-line to buy it. The first chapter was one of the best openings to a book ever. I was hooked.

I’m sure many people are aware of the backlash that came from James Frey’s television appearances. My thinking was this, here is a guy that is recounting his years of drug use, there is bound to be some moments that are blurry. No one ever took Hunter S. Thompson to task over the alleged bat sightings in Barstow.

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I have always felt that the first chapter of A Million Little Pieces was, probably, one of the best first chapters written in the last ten to twenty years. How long before it was published did you write it?

Thank you. Happy to do it. I wrote AMLP in 2001. It took about a year to write. I was living in LA, in Venice. I had been writing movies and sort of hated it, decided I would rather fail at what I wanted to do than be sort of successful at something that I didn’t really want to do. When we sent it to publishers, 17 turned it down before somehow was willing to publish it.

2. In My Friend Leonard you write about you and your friends going to a Vandals concert. Were/are you a fan of punk rock or was this a one off event?

Definitely not a one off. Have listened to punk since I was about fourteen. In the 80’s, when I grew up, I loved the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, the Circle Jerks. The Vandals put on an amazing show. Have seen them a few times. The best shows I saw were in LA, where they got an amazing crowd, and Live Fast, Diarrhea is one of the great albums of the 90’s. Still listen to most of the same music I listened to when I was a teenager. Always listen to music while I write.

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