A Dark Shiny Night

by capreviewroom

James Frey’s, Bright Shiny Morning, is an exhilarating read that compares and contrasts the very different lives and struggles of citizens of Los Angeles. From millionaire movie star Amberton Parker, (who gets whatever he wants) to public bathroom-living Old Man Joe, who never goes too long without his Chablis, Frey shows the reader how different life can play out in the sprawling city of LA. Frey also explores the lives of Esperanza, a young Mexican-American woman who both wants to make something of herself in America, while battling her own image issues, and a young couple Dylan and Maddie, who have left their homes in hopes of a new life in LA.

After reading through a section of each characters story, it’s hard not to become attached to one or another. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the entire novel, I was always anxious and excited for when the focus returned to Dylan and Maddie. For me, it was the most gripping sub story of the entire book, and I believe Frey’s writing style further enhanced the anticipation of returning to this story line.

Frey often veers off the beaten path and delves into facts and other short stories within the book, which often don’t relate to the main characters. While these “fun facts” and short stories are quite interesting, I feel the book could do without these parts. One could argue that they develop more of a history of the city and its inner workings, but I believe that hearing each individual story gives the reader a clear picture of the daily trials and tribulations these people go through.

Nitpicking aside, I have already recommended Bright Shiny Morning to a friend. It’s a fantastic book that begs the reader to become involved in characters. While fans of the classic “happy ending” may be disappointed, it reinforces that fact that life is a challenge, actions will have consequences, and all too often LA is called the “City of Dreams” for a reason.


Liam Scott-Curr


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: