Bright Shiny Books

A dear friend of mine recommended that I read James Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning.

“Isn’t that the guy that Oprah yelled at?” I asked.

Well, it is the same guy. But he’s still writing. And he’s writing amazing things.

Bright Shiny Morning is a hodge podge of stories all within the same setting: the ever growing city of Los Angeles. The reader enters the stories of a mileu of characters. Some of the people we stick with include a homeless man, a teenage couple escaping abuse from home, a young Mexican-American trying to achieve the dream her parents wanted for her, and a closet homosexual actor steeped in success and egotism. There’s even historical events in the founding of Los Angeles onwards that interrupt the stories.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of all of the characters, especially since it’s around 500 pages! But the main characters really stay in your mind and you get excited when the novel (if I can call it a novel) returns to those people.

It’s a risky but innovative way to write a novel. And yes, Los Angeles is a crazy, diverse, dangerous, meditative, beautiful city. I tried to let my grammar check go and accept the run-on sentences. He must have diverted from the standard rules for a reason. My initial thinking is that there’s so much to say about the people in Los Angeles that grammar can’t keep the information in check and the sentences are just overflowing with descriptions, images and smells. But I’ll let you make your own decisions about it!

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