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Publisher's Summary

One of the most celebrated and controversial authors in America delivers his first novel - a sweeping chronicle of contemporary Los Angeles that is bold, exhilarating, and utterly original. Dozens of characters pass across the reader's sight lines - some never to be seen again - but James Frey lingers on a handful of L.A.'s lost souls and captures the dramatic narrative of their lives: a bright, ambitious young Mexican-American woman who allows her future to be undone by a moment of searing humiliation; a supremely narcissistic action-movie star whose passion for the unattainable object of his affection nearly destroys him; a couple, both 19 years old, who flee their suffocating hometown and struggle to survive on the fringes of the great city; and an aging Venice Beach alcoholic whose life is turned upside down when a meth-addled teenage girl shows up half-dead outside the restroom he calls home.
Throughout this strikingly powerful novel, there is the relentless drumbeat of the millions of other stories that, taken as a whole, describe a city, a culture, and an age. A dazzling tour de force, Bright Shiny Morning illuminates the joys, horrors, and unexpected fortunes of life and death in Los Angeles.
©2008 James Frey (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Annie M. on 06-13-08

Brillaintly written, brilliantly narrated

After falling in love with "A Million Little Pieces" James Frey's debut "memoir," I feared that his oh-so-public fall from grace would mean this innovative voice of contemporary American letters would be silenced forever.

But Frey has proven with "Bright, Shiny Morning" that his talent was no fluke. In fact, I liked this book even better than his two previous works.

"Bright, Shiny Morning" brings to life a cast of Los Angelenos--the beautiful and the damned, which in this novel, are often qaulities infused in the same character.

Frey takes us deep inside the warped psyche of the offensively rich, sickeningly self-absorbed Hollywood magastar--and then to the clever, humble Mexican American maid who fakes an accent so her wealthy, sadistic employer can feel superior. My heart was completely involved with the young couple who left abusive Midwest lives behind to find something better in LA. And he presents a sympathetic portrait of life on the streets of Venice, where homeless people eek out a living next to million dollar bungalows.

"Bright, Shiny Morning" yields up deeply crafted characters that put a heart and soul to those living in the ultimate soul-less city.

A note on narrator Ben Foster: As a legally blind person who is also a voracious consumer of books, I often feel at the mercy of marrators. A bad narration can ruin a great book. But Ben Foster was the perfect choice to bring this book to audio life. I loved his interpretation of the various characters' voices and the sardonic verve with which he infused Frey's jaded look at the land of big dreams. Simply brilliant narration.

I highly recommend this book. If you want to hear something cutting edge in literature--this is your book.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By T. J. on 02-03-09

Love the writer, not the book

While this book was interesting and he does a great job of developing characters that hold your interest the book was sub par. The person who actually did the reading of the book gets a 10... great job really.

- Too many characters to follow and not enough content about the characters. Just when the characters are built and are interesting to you they disappear.

- Not sure what was up with all the weird music breaks but it seemed like senseless filler to me

- The facts about L.A. and the lists he read were horrible and mostly boring distractions from the stories of the characters. I found myself fast forwarding through these parts after listening to half of the book.

I was left feeling empty and unfulfilled by the book... like there was more to say about these characters but with all the other stuff jammed in there just wasn't time.

Had potential but in my opinion it lost out.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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