Friday, July 3, 2009

Los Angeles Diaries, the book

Even before the scandal, I had read James Frey's A Million Pieces and knew that it was a bunch of dramatic exaggerations of what rehab is really like. Turns out, Oprah is mortified at what any reasonable person already knew, that James Frey made up most of the stuff in his memoir.

By comparison, I just finished James Brown's memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, in which he describes his own addictions, his failed marriage, the suicides of his brother, and then sister, and his difficulty in achieving success in his field as a writer because of his alcoholism and his drug addiction.

Brown's book is more like the real thing. It is sketchy, written in a sparse and succinct style and yet very readable and engaging.

Brown grows up in a very dysfunctional family abandoned by his mother during some very formative years because she does prison time for arson after burning down an apartment house in which a person died. His mother also bankrupted the family with wild spending and poor investments and his contractor father is ruined. Jimmy started drinking and drugging when he was a kid and by the age of 14 had become an addict.

This is a dark tale told in a matter of fact way about the destruction of a family due to substance abuse. If there is any doubt that substance abuse is a terminal disease, James Brown's story will set that doubt aside.

I recommend this book.

For more information, scroll through My Favorites on the side bar, and click on Los Angeles Diaries. It will take you to the Amazon web site.


fifitrix said...

I agree with your comments about James Frey, though I wonder if he fairs better with 'Bright Shiny Morning' which I'm about to read (coincidently). In addition to the info. you've supplied for LA Diaries, which will always have a special place on my bookshelf, please visit James Brown's website, you will find a lot of interesting material on there:-

Diana said...

Thanks for the generous and kind words about The Los Angeles Diaries.

James Brown