Bright Shiny Misfortunes In L.A. By Mikaela Palmer

by capreviewroom

James Frey captures his audience with a captivating and eye-opening look at the harsh reality of Los Angeles’s Hollywood dream world. Through the stories of characters lives, the readers are exposed to various social issues including poverty, violence, discrimination and sexual exploitation. The novel focusses in on a central theme of the difficulties faced by thousands of American’s every year who are in pursuit of fame and success, but “for most, there is no fame, no fortune, no happily ever after”.

Frey’s audience sees a whole range of characters from struggling Mexican immigrants and homeless men, to the famous in the closet homosexual and the young loving teenagers escaping to a better life. We see some characters on their way to L.A. from their small hometown in search of the dream life, only to face struggles financially and socially. “This is California. I thought we’d live in a beautiful place near the ocean and we’d be happy.” The novel shifts from one character to the next when you feel you have almost figured it all out. An interesting twist is put on all of these stories when we see the social issues taking place.  As one character begs for money to fuel his addiction, “It takes between five minutes and three hours to receive the donations necessary to purchase his daily dose of alcohol.”

As gut-wrenching and shocking, this novel is also adventurous and fearless through all of its dark corners and bright moments where we see parts of L.A. we may have never imagined. Constantly on edge, and engaging, Bright Shiny Morning brings us an awakening from our deepest roots of emotion. Frey takes his audience by storm and holds them captive in each characters life until we can’t help but feel as though we are right there experiencing every bittersweet moment of it.


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