Lazy Editing, Or a Work of Genius? – Sian O’Byrne

by capreviewroom

Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey is anything but. The novel is set all over the city of Los Angeles from the rich and famous glamour- to the treacherous slums. It is a series of different characters stories that are shaped by the city they live in. Frey chooses to throw in a variety of different characters and situations so that the readers can experience what it’s like to live in Los Angeles from every point of view, as well is abundant with random facts about Los Angeles to place the readers in LA with all its history around them. The book focus’ on four main stories; Amberton Parker- the rich and famous movie star, Dylan and Maddie-a young couple seeking a better life, Esperanza- an American-Mexican woman striving to make her parents proud, and Old Man Joe- a man who lives in the homeless community of Venice Beach.

            Even though Bright Shiny Morning is a fictional novel Frey adds in facts throughout the story to develop it into a novel that isn’t just about the story of a few characters, but about Los Angeles in a whole. Frey has been known to make up facts in his past novels, but this is acceptable in this one because it is a fictional story and he does write that “Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable” in first few pages of the book.

            The story itself is very appealing to the modern reader: the struggles and realities of life in Los Angeles. However the structure is all over the place and seems as though he hardly edited the book. There are stories like on page 135 where Frey goes on and on about different highways of LA that need a motivated reader to get through without being bored. Frey often repeats himself and goes on tangents that are the reason why the novel is its length of 500 pages. It would be customary for Frey to cut out all the long side stories that don’t seem to go anywhere alongside the overload of random facts and repetition, but instead he keeps the novel at its rawest form possible. Bright Shiny Morning is a bold piece of literature that defies the structure and expectations of a modern work of fiction today.


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