James Frey writes Bright Shiny Morning, a fictional novel, in 2008. Frey writes about Los Angeles, and the people who live there. This book spotlights four main characters: Dylan and Maddie, a couple who leave Ohio to escape from their parents’ abusing to pursue better life in LA; Old man Joe, a homeless man who lives in bathroom behind the Mexican restaurant. Amberton Parker, a successful movie star with everything – money, prestige, beautiful wife and children – but conceals the fact that he is an homosexual; Esperanza, an intelligent Mexican American girl, obsessed with her huge thigh, works at a wealthy old woman’s house as a maid.
Readers understand the life style in LA as well as the atmosphere of the whole city throughout the book. As the title of this book indicates, Frey describes Los Angeles as the city filled with sunshine where gathers people are ambitious of the American Dream. Although each character has a variety of age, gender, and circumstance, they pursue their own dreams. On the other hand, Frey also describes the dark aspects of the city. Each character’s conflicts and struggles reflect the social issues that exist in LA. For instance, Dylan and Maddie get involved with mafia warfare. They are also described too immature to Joe confront with poverty, alcoholism, and homelessness. Amberton conceals his homosexuality and is afraid of revealing it to the public. Racism toward Esperanza also emphasizes the struggle among immigrant people.
Style of this novel is so unique that it attracts the readers from the beginning to the end of the book. Frey deliberately use run-on sentences with enormous dialogues with explicit language, and random historic records. Even though this book appears to be thick, reader can flip through the pages faster than they think. In addition, the story progresses further by switching around each character, which may lead readers to confusion and make them difficult to comprehend the storyline; however, it implies Frey’s purpose. He tries to express to the readers the reality of LA in Bright Shiny Morning through each character’s perspective; life style, language spoken, and the atmosphere of the city.
I enjoyed this book. Bright Shiny Morning precisely describes the life in LA and people’s life there. Frey emphasizes the dark side of LA to make the readers realize the harshness of achieving the dream and their struggles during its processes. Frey’s writing style entertains readers and makes readers think that the volume of the book is lighter than it appears to be.