My Friend Leonard by James Frey

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Perhaps the most unconventional and literally breathtaking father-son story you'll ever read, My Friend Leonard pulls you immediately and deeply into a relationship as unusual as it is inspiring.

The father figure is Leonard, the high-living, recovering coke addict "West Coast Director of a large Italian-American finance firm" (read: mobster) who helped to keep James Frey clean in A Million Little Pieces. The son is, of course, James, damaged perhaps beyond repair by years of crack and alcohol addiction-and by more than a few cruel tricks of fate.

James embarks on his post-rehab existence in Chicago emotionally devastated, broke, and afraid to get close to other people. But then Leonard comes back into his life, and everything changes. Leonard offers his "son" lucrative—if illegal and slightly dangerous—employment. He teaches James to enjoy life, sober, for the first time. He instructs him in the art of "living boldly," pushes him to pursue his passion for writing, and provides a watchful and supportive veil of protection under which James can get his life together. Both Leonard's and James's careers flourish…but then Leonard vanishes. When the reasons behind his mysterious absence are revealed, the book opens up in unexpected emotional ways.

My Friend Leonard showcases a brilliant and energetic young writer rising to important new challenges—displaying surprising warmth, humor, and maturity—without losing his intensity. This book proves that one of the most provocative literary voices of his generation is also one of the most emphatically human.

About James Frey

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James Frey is originally from Cleveland. He is also the author of My Friend Leonard. He is married and lives in New York.
Published June 16, 2005 by Riverhead. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Crime, Self Help. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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He also has a friend in Leonard, his mobster guardian, who gets Frey hooked up with some better paying gigs (illegal and thus another problem) and who’s always there to steer Frey clear of intoxicants and toward the simple pleasures, like good food and Cuban cigars.

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The New York Times

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Reading ''My Friend Leonard'' put me in the mind of some advice dispensed by Laotzu himself: ''To know self-restraint and practice it protects one from shame.'' And also of a bit from Frey's first book: ''The Tough Guy act,'' one rehab staffer tells his scowling charge, ''isn't gonna get you very...

Aug 21 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

Publishers Weekly

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As in Pieces , Frey's style throughout is loose, untraditional yet perfectly crafted: "[Leonard] offered me his hand and said good, I'm fucked up too, and I like fucked-up people, let's sit and eat and see if we can be friends.

Mar 28 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

BC Books

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That said, I read the book in the course of one day.

Jul 09 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

BC Books

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Frey writes in much the same way as he did with his first book – he has little use for punctuation, he writes run-ons (don’t we all want to write a run on sentence that goes on and on just to prove our English teachers wrong that you don’t really have to write all proper and stuff because sometim...

Oct 20 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

BC Books

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Leonard is one of the centerpieces as Frey tells the story of Lilly, Frey's life in the years following his release from the rehab center and jail, and the struggles he encounters not only as a recovering alcoholic and addict but with life in general.

Jul 09 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

Entertainment Weekly

At the end of his harrowing 2003 rehab memoir, A Million Little Pieces, James Frey was newly sober, in love with fellow patient Lilly, and turning himself in for felonies he committed while addicted to alcohol and crack.

Jun 15 2005 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

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Mar 13 2006 | Read Full Review of My Friend Leonard

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