I knew of him and not of his work when I watched him get flogged on television by Oprah. I happily shared the South Park parody with my friends and still had read nothing by him. I recognized him when I crossed his path, briefly one evening, downtown - Broadway, almost near Houston St - couple of years ago. When I told my friend later he screamed into the phone, "You didn't say anything to him?!" Like what? I'll admit that the hype had gotten to me and I did pick up a copy of "A Million Little Pieces" to see what everyone was talking about; almost all agree that it's a page turner, true to the term. I couldn't do it. Too many unrealistic expectations bore the effort. Why do I care if he said the truth or not? Book went back to the library.
"Oh the public was tricked"
"Oh The Oprah was tricked"
"Oh the lives of people have been scarred because of the lies."
If shit walked and talked and talked more shit.
I've never went after a book from reading a review of it. Made an exception after this one by Janet Maslin. After the shit he's been through - or put through - how did he manage to come back and win?
I'll tell you. It took me less than a week to finish Bright Shiny Morning. Much less I like to think. To use Maslin's analogy, he did 'hit one out of the park'. First few pages were tough but man knows how to fucking write. It will piss off purists and writing teachers. It will definitely piss off writing teachers. Try interjecting in the middle of a scene with "(...it's all about the motherfucking sequels)" and pass that class. Try using "he spoke" and "she spoke" before each spoken line.
What is it...pure talent, or hard work that makes simplicity conjure up such vivid imagery without sacrificing heart? I don't know. The stories unfold so quickly in these pages and take deep breaths for chapters on that you no longer realize it's not happening in front of your eyes. My favorite out of the stories is Dylan and Maddie's. When you read it, you'll probably understand why. You'll probably understand why the emotions felt by the characters are not strange for you to recognize.
Come to this book with a clean slate and pretend you have no idea who the guy is. He has his press-friendly blurb for writing it...but I think this book is a 'fuck you' book. It's a fuck-you to convention, it's a fuck-you to celebrity, and it's a fuck-you to reviewers like this.
You like fuck-you work? I like fuck-you work. Perhaps also not strange that I haven't felt so energized about writing myself. Even if it's writing a fuck-you-I've-just-read-this-book blog post. Even if it makes me stay up an extra 15 minutes to write a page of a script that had only those 15 minutes to live true. If it inspires, it was written from somewhere pure. If it doesn't, you may just not be ready for it.
I'm ready for A Million Little Pieces.