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My Friend Leonard
Author: James Frey
In the bold and heartbreaking My Friend Leonard , James Frey picks up the story of his extraordinary life pretty much where things left off in his breakout bestseller and Amazon.com Best Book of 2003, A Million Little Pieces , the fierce, in-your-face memoir about Freys kamikaze run of self-destruction and his days in rehab. Fresh from a stint in jail from pre-rehab-related In the bold and heartbreaking My Friend Leonard , James Frey picks up the story of his extraordinary life pretty much where things left off in his breakout bestseller and Amazon.com Best Book of 2003, A Million Little Pieces , the fierce, in-your-face memoir about Freys kamikaze run of self-destruction and his days in rehab. Fresh from a stint in jail from pre-rehab-related charges (On my first day in jail, a three hundred pound man named Porterhouse hit me in the back of the head with a metal tray.), clean-living Frey returns to Chicago and gets sucker-punched with a cruel blow that will leave readers ducking for cover in anticipation of the blinding bender thats sure to come. But then the titular Leonard, the larger-than-life Vegas mobster (West Coast Director of a large Italian finance firm) whom James befriended in rehab, steps into the story and serves equal parts unlikely life coach, guardian angel, and father figure for the grief-stricken author, adopting him as his son and schooling him in the fine art of living boldly: Be not bold, be f-cking BOLD. Every time you meet someone, make a f-cking impression. Make them think youre the hottest shit in the world. Make them think theyre gonna lose their job if they dont give you one. Look em in the eye, and never look away. Be confident and calm, be f-cking bold. Hurricane Leonard storms into Jamess life, showering his young charge with multi-course feasts at steakhouses and Italian restaurants, courtside seats at Bulls games, Cuban cigars, and an elaborate Super Bowl party in Los Angeles, all the while doling out wisdom on life and love and motivating James to stick to his burgeoning writing career. James even has a brief stint as an employee of Leonards, though occupational hazards--like having a nine millimeter shoved in his face--prove too much for the novice bag man (though he does make enough to invest his earnings in a Picasso drawing). When Leonard drops out of sight for an extended period, his absence leaves readers aching to hear the familiar refrain of My Son! just one more time. Frey sticks to the taut, staccato style that shot through A Million Little Pieces with such raw electricity. Surprisingly, the tone feels equally at home with this books focus on friendship and extreme loyalty, and works to intensify the always-looming, adrenaline-rush threat of violence and the lure of the Fury that courses like a riptide throughout the book. Ultimately, its a sense of hope, and humor even, that prevails and makes My Friend Leonard a stand-alone success. Despite his shady pedigree, youll long to have a friend like Leonard just a phone call away. --Brad Thomas Parsons James Freys List of Books You Should Read Paris Spleen Tropic of Cancer The Great Santini See more recommendations from James Frey Amazon.coms Significant Seven James Frey graciously agreed to answer the questions we like to ask every author: the Amazon.com Significant Seven. Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life? A: Tao te Ching by Lao Tsu. Completely changed how I think, behave, live my life. Nothing else comes close. Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they? A: The book would be the Tao te Ching , the CD would be some compilation of love songs from the 70s and 80s, and the DVD would be highlights from the history of the Cleveland Browns. Q: What is the worst lie youve ever told? A: No way I can answer that. Q: Describe the perfect writing environment. A: Ive been working at the same desk since I started writing. Its old and beaten-up and black. The rest of my workroom is empty, except for some crazy sh-- on the wall in front of me: pictures of people I admire, reproductions of artwork I dig, sayings that motivate me, things like--bare your soul, be bold, page a day motherfu--er page a day. I listen to music while I work, have a pile of nicotine gum and a couple cans of diet coke. My dogs are usually a couple feet away from me. Ive always worked this way, probably always will. Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say? A: Loved, lost, laughed, left. Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with? A: Winston Churchill Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be? A: Immortality.