Bright Shiny Morning, Lost Broken Souls

by capreviewroom

Amberton Parker, famous movie star, gorgeous wife, three healthy children. “Public heterosexual. Private homosexual.” (16) Dylan and Maddie, childhood friends to star crossed teenage lovers, grew up in “small American town full of alcohol, abuse and religion” (2) desperate for a better life, desperate for an escape. Old Man Joe, an aging alcoholic living out of a bathroom in Venice Beach. Every day he waits, “waits for an answer.” (5) Esperanza, an American born Mexican who was born 50 feet across the US-Mexican border. Stricken with the burden of huge thighs, settles for the job of a maid. The four stories of five lost souls in the city of Los Angeles is what makes up the novel Bright Shiny Morning by nationally recognized author James Frey. This is Frey’s third novel to his previous novels, the controversial A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, and to say the least it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Frey writes in such a manner that it is impossible to tear away from the storyline. This particular novel is written in broken fragmented sentences such as “Day after day I see them. I walk and I hear them. I walk and I feel them. I walk in the Land of Angels, I walk in the Land of Dreams.”(506) The sentence and paragraph structure of this novel is a strikingly accurate representation of the story itself, which is a collection of lost souls, broken, fragmented, and their lives in Los Angeles.  The second surprising element of Frey’s novel is the paragraphs of Los Angeles history cut throughout the novel. At the end of every chapter or segment of the novel Frey strategically placed, in chronological order, facts regarding the creation of the infrastructure of the city, beginning in 1781. The recipe of interesting facts and the broken lives of five individuals create the perfect meal. A powerful third novel from Frey, it leaves the reader tastefully satisfied with knowledge of the hardships of the city of Los Angeles, yet still a hunger for more.

By Melissa 

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