The Darkside of the City of Dreams

by capreviewroom

By: Jane Agyeman

For James Frey’s second venture into the literary world he decide to create a fiction novel called “Bright Shiny Morning”, a book that uses stories of the lives of L.A natives and immigrant to unearth the dark and distorted underbelly of the city of dreams. The novel is mainly focused on the lives of people in four main plot lines, old man Joe an alcoholic homeless man, Maddy and Dylan a couple looking of an escape their abusive suburban surroundings, Amberton a famous celebrity and a closet homosexual, and Esperanza  a Hispanic first generation American with major feelings on distain toward her large thighs. This book is definitely not without it, but Frey use of social stereotypes and the ideal of the American dream to shiny a light on the darkest parts of the coast of eternal sunshine is clever and eye opening. This novel is not one for the faint of heart as Frey’s signature vivid description and impeccable detail paints haunting images of the dankest parts of L.A., digging up images of darkness and disconsolation. It lacked the cookie-cutter, textbook fluff that often limits book, often leaving them lacking realism. Though this book has great imagery, its structure and content leaves something to be desired. The book is definitely biased in it opinion of Los Angeles, and this blatant use of one-sidedness is in many ways was off-putting to me as a reader. Frey’s attempt to seamlessly blend the lives of characters of a ranging spectrum in to one story is choppy at best, creating a rift between each plot line that makes the book seem unfinished and poorly edit. Overall this book has some good qualities and though it is not on my must read list, it something that should not be discarded completely.

Rating: 6.25/10

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