Los Angeles Being Not as Bright and Shiny as We Perceive

by capreviewroom

            Bright Shiny Morning written by James Frey explores the different life styles of Los Angeles which follows four main families and their struggles. There’s Dylan and Maddie who ran away from their home town of Ohio to L.A thinking they may have a better life set out for them here. There’s Esparenza who is a Mexican-American young girl, who faces personal challenges about her body image as well as working for a mean old lady named Mrs. Campbell. Another character James introduces in Bright Shiny Morning is Old Man Joe. Old Man Joe is a homeless man who really doesn’t have much cut out for him; he lives in a bathroom in Venice, California but still manages to live a happy life with what he has. The last character we get to know is Amberton, who is a celebrity that seems to have everything cut out for him. However, he and his best friend/ wife Casey keep a big secret from the fans and press. No one but their family and close friends can know they’re gay.

                One thing that I really did enjoy about this book is that it’s a very easy read. The fact that it doesn’t really have set chapters allows you to put the book down at anytime, leave it for a couple hours or days and get back into it easily. The fact that it has various characters’ stories keeps it very interesting as opposed to having one story that is 500 pages long. One thing that I did find kind of ironic is how at the beginning James states “nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable.” I feel that the events that happen to these characters are something that can actually happen in real life. For example, the gang violence that went on in the book (Dylan’s and Maddie’s story) can be associated with the real street violence between crips and bloods.  Something that I actually found kind of annoying is how James incorporated random facts about LA that had no to little relevance to the stories. It kind of threw me off, and I found it to be annoying, but you can always skip through those parts and get back on track with the stories.

                Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. After reading it my opinion of Los Angeles has changed. I thought LA would be portrayed as a beautiful place where the sun shines and the living is easy, however that’s not the case at all in Bright Shiny Morning.


Polina Terentieva


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