Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces Criminality

By James Frey

Criminality

Cookies and milk. Peanut butter and pickles. Drug abuse and criminal activity. These things all go together like, well, peas and carrots. Heroin-laced peas and cocaine-dusted carrots, that is.

In A Million Little Pieces, most of the people in rehab with James Frey participated in some sort of criminal activity before checking in. Everything from theft to organized crime to statutory rape is represented in the lunchroom of the rehab clinic. These are cliques you definitely didn't see in Mean Girls. Why is it that all these people on drugs also get into crime?

Questions About Criminality

  1. Why do you think James got started in criminal activity? What did he start with? How did it escalate from there?
  2. James says he never relapsed, but do you think he ever committed a crime again? (Lying to Oprah doesn't count.)
  3. Do you think James's sentence is fair, considering everything he has done?

Chew on This

James identifies with criminals because he wants to be a Bad Guy—that's why he's so drawn to Leonard. Leonard the alleged mafia boss is the baddest guy in the joint.

James overstates his own criminal past because he equates breaking the law with masculinity. He wants to make sure you know he's a total man's man. 

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