It was admittedly only after the Frey debacle that I went and picked up A Million Little Pieces to give it the once over. In the store, of course; I was determined not to be one of the 3 million purchasers or a confirmer of the adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity.
What a bomb. Contrived language, predictable plot, super-silly-ious tone.
I ended up purchasing Nick Flynn's memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Flynn, a poet by training and disposition, has written an account of meeting his deadbeat father at the shelter where he works, and where his father has come to live.
Far from either a reconciliation account or an I Will Survive weeper, Flynn leaps back and forth in time to unsentimentally plumb both his father's story and his own, giving each equal grace and weight.
Now this is a memoir. Forget about the naive call for the reproduction of actual events or Frey's confirmation of all the white-knuckled myths of our self-help culture.
Flynn's memoir smells of authenticity; the dirty emotional lives we lead, the triumph that is merely surviving given the materials we're given -- and doing it without rehashing the Americhristian myth of redemption from evil and being saved.
Anyone who's lived 3 weeks after an epiphany knows that while life can and does often change for the better, another grueling episode quickly emerges like a hydra-head to take its place, and the cycle starts all over again...
Here's a short excerpt. Enjoy.