Flying With the Angels by Sam Esfandiari

by capreviewroom

James Frey’s fictional novel Bright Shiny Morning to simply put it, is the story of Los Angeles. A nerve-twisting and at the same time educational masterpiece which immerses the reader from the very beginning into the harsh and unforgiving realities of life within the limits of the Los Angeles county. Frey manages this captivation by creating very relatable yet stereotypical characters such as Dylan and Maddie, a young mid-western couple that flee the grips of their abusing parents and head west into the promised land, a strangely content homeless man of Venice beach named Old Man Joe, an incredibly self-conscience Mexican-American maid named Esperanza, and not to exclude, a closet-homosexual rich and famous action movie star named Amberton.

With each new character introduced, Frey tries to cover all the aspects of life within Los Angeles by forcing the readers to look through the eyes of his characters while also managing to keep it entertaining by shifting from story to story and occasionally from story to what he calls “fun facts” about LA. I find that this style of writing he uses is one of the main elements that keeps the book interesting and makes the reader wanting more and more. Even with the numerous missing commas and periods which makes it a false usage of grammar and rather irritating to people that have a keen eye for such matters, the strange need of wanting more still stands throughout the book.

Frey’s portrait of a modern Los Angeles within Bright Shiny Morning is rich with in-depth texture and creatively accomplishes to take the reader through the city streets without them having to actually be there. Through a collective use of correct history, geography, and emotional empathy with the heroes and antiheroes of the story, he takes the reader further and further down the rabbit hole of the mystery that is Los Angeles and in the end leaves them wanting more. In my personal opinion this novel is most likely one of the capstones of the twenty-first century contemporary literature since it so beautifully manages to teach and entertain at the same time.



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