Monday, March 5, 2012

Book 13 - Bright Shiny Morning

Is it possible to love and hate a book at the same time? Although that is a bit harsh, there were many aspects of "Bright Shiny Morning" by James Frey that I really loved, and almost as many that I didn't care for. I do recall hearing about Frey as most of us likely did, with that whole Oprah scandal. I don't really care too much about all of that, what really counts is the quality of the book itself. I would say that Frey is an excellent writer, but he would benefit from some restraint, the scope of this tale was just far too large.

"Bright Shiny Morning" is a tale of Los Angeles. It intermixes the history of the city, "fun facts" and tales of many different characters. Although there are many (too many) stories that this book follows, the main ones are homeless "Old Man Joe", celebrity couple Amberton Parker and his "beard" wife Casey, Mexican-American Esperanza a maid with ambitions for a better life and young couple Maddie and Dylan who have come to California to escape Maddie's abusive mother and to seek a better life by the sea.

I listened to the audio book version of this novel, brilliantly read by Ben Foster. I would highly recommend listening to the audio book version of this story as I can't state enough how much Foster nailed this reading. All audio books should be read by Ben Foster. Having said that, parts of the dialogue were clunky to listen to, during conversations often Frey would write them as so: Joe speaks: (dialogue) Bill speaks: (dialogue) and so on and so on. It was strange to listen to especially as Foster was very much able to make a listener differentiate between characters anyhow.

Even though I was ambivalent about some parts of this book (much stronger editing would have been beneficial), overall I did enjoy listening to it very much and I would recommend giving it a go. I am also planning to read the controversial "Million Tiny Pieces", it is waiting for me on the library holds shelf as we speak (although I have tons of books on my plate right now so I likely won't get to it for a while).


  1. I totally agree about Ben Foster reading almost every other audio book from now on! Haha I ended up here because I was searching to see if he has read anything else. I also agree that the "speaks" part was unnecessary but it was written that way and otherwise it would have been abridged I guess...

    Just one thing to check. The characters name is Amberton Parker right? at least that's what I hear.

  2. Yes it is Amberton, thanks and it is corrected :)

    Thanks for the comment!