Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces Part 1, Chapter 8

By James Frey

Part 1, Chapter 8

  • James wakes up in the medical unit and pukes. The best part of waking up…
  • James wanders back to Sawyer and finds some books, including The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. He reads it and complains that AA is a bunch of BS. "I am not convinced. No way, not at all. Not at all" (1.8.14).
  • Back in his room, a thoughtful individual has left The Big Book of AA on James's bed, so he chucks it outside the window.
  • Then James steps into the shower re-enacts a scene from Beetlejuice: "I am alone. Alone here and alone in the world. Alone in my heard and alone in my mind. […] Alone with my family, alone with my friends" (1.8.20).
  • Still in the shower, James starts talking about his friend Michelle, who died when the car she was in got hit by a train.
  • James blames himself, because she said she was going out with him, and then went out with someone else instead, and that guy was driving when the train hit the car.
  • Suddenly, John gets into the shower with James. You'd think a sexual ninja like John would be able to sneak in unawares.
  • James tells him to "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE" using his all-caps bold voice, so you know he's serious.
  • James leaves the bathroom, falls asleep on the bed, and has a dream in which he shoots himself in the head. (James Frey, in the crack house, with the revolver.)
  • James wakes up and (say it with us, Shmoopers) pukes all over the place.
  • James is in a lot of pain and tells himself, "I cannot continue to live this way" (1.8.65).
  • Warren gives James a nice clean shirt, and James promises not to puke or bleed all over it.
  • James manages to not only eat dinner without spilling anything on the shirt, but also to ogle Lilly during dinner, too.
  • Lilly compliments James on his nice new teeth, a pick-up line not often heard outside of retirement homes.
  • Ken shows up to give James the results of his test. Basically, James will die if he ever does drugs again.
  • That night, James decides he'll leave the facility and do drugs one last time to go out in a blaze of glory.
  • Roy and Lincoln come into the room, mad at James that the toilets aren't clean.
  • James tells Lincoln that Roy probably messed up the toilets on purpose to get James in trouble, and James tries to get Lincoln to attack him so that Lincoln will lose his job.
  • It doesn't work.
  • James leaves to smoke and drink coffee.
  • There's another lunch 'n' lecture, then it's time for Roy and a friend to graduate.
  • Roy leaves. James dines with Leonard and stares at Lilly a bit more.
  • In his head, James is telling everyone goodbye since he's planning to kill himself.
  • James goes outside. Leonard follows him and tries to stop him from whatever he's planning.
  • But James is stubborn. He pulls out his best Popeye impression: "I am what I am!" (1.8.383). Except James is addicted to meth, not spinach.

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