Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces Part 1, Chapter 5

By James Frey

Part 1, Chapter 5

  • James wakes up in the middle of the night, and he's bleeding.
  • James wipes the blood from his scabbed cheek and cracked lips.
  • After cleaning up, James is told by Larry and Warren that all the men have jobs to do each day. James's job: clean the group toilets.
  • James plays Scrubbing Bubbles for the morning and then goes to breakfast, where Ken tells him that he'll be taking the MMPJ test later. The MMPJ seems sort of like the SAT... but for drug users.
  • But first, a man named Hank has to drive James to the dentist.
  • The dentist does a quick check-up (unofficial diagnosis: boy, this is going to hurt), and Hank brings him back.
  • Back at the clinic, Gene Hackman yells at James.
  • Well, a man who kind of looks like Gene Hackman yells at James, because he says that James called him Gene Hackman, even though James didn't. Did you catch that?
  • The guy's real name is Leonard, and he and James get to know each other a bit before the lecture.
  • After the lecture, Ken administers the MMPJ to James, even though James feels sick.
  • It's a true/false test. James answers all 567 questions, except one: "My sins are unpardonable" (1.5.209). He leaves that one blank.
  • Later, James makes some phone calls. This is the 90s, right? Does he use 1-800-COLLECT?
  • After calling his friends and parents, James goes to dinner and then to the lecture hall.
  • Before bed, James plays cards with John and Larry and Warren, and he learns a bit about their various backgrounds.
  • That night, James falls asleep to the gentle sounds of a grown man (Larry) crying himself into oblivion.

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