Archive for December, 2007

James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

A Million Little Pieces - James FreyRe-reading The Basketball Diaries got me thinking about other writers of the drug scene.

Here’s a piece I wrote in 2003 about James Frey. At the time he was being celebrated for his magnificent recovery memoir, A Million Little Pieces. A couple of years later, The Smoking Gun revealed that he had stretched the truth in the book, and that he had even made some episodes up.

Frey’s wasn’t the first literary controversy, and it certainly won’t be the last. The fact remains that it is a staggeringly well-written book, but perhaps he should have called it a novel…


Jim Carroll’s Basketball Diaries

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Basketball Diaries - Jim CarrollOver the weekend I re-read Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries, his account of growing up on the streets of New York City, taking drugs and becoming a poet. It started me thinking about the line between truth and fiction.

Carroll was a basketball prodigy who lived a double existence in the mid-60s: high-school sports-star and self confessed ‘hip motherfucker’. During the day he’d be on the nod in class, while at night he roamed the streets, scoring drugs and trying to scratch enough money together for the next hit.


Review of The Western Banker by Joe Barrett

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

The Western Banker - cover imageA friend sent me this debut thriller from Australian writer Joe Barrett. Like a lot of debut novels, it shows a lot of potential - but I ended up with mixed feelings.

Alex is an elite broker for a British investment bank, a young player who makes millions negotiating high-stakes arms deals between powerful factions in the Middle East. Driven by greed and untroubled by scruples, he comes to Tel Aviv to finance a deal that will see Israeli weapons sold to an Islamist terrorist.