Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces Family

By James Frey

Family

Most people who turn to drugs do so to fill some sort of hole in their life. Perhaps they're not satisfied with their jobs or their relationships, or perhaps they just really hated the finale of True Detective and have been drinking non-stop ever since.

In A Million Little Pieces, many of James's fellow patients at the clinic have terrible family problems. Both of Leonard's parents died... and his foster parents did, too. Lilly was literally sold by her own mother so to bankroll said mother's drug abuse.

And James… well, James's parents gave him a roof over his head, a regular allowance, and even pay for rehab. Those jerks! Someone call social serv… Oh, wait… that doesn't seem like such a bad family life after all. What gives, James? Why do you hate on the 'rents so much?

Questions About Family

  1. What was James's family life like compared to Leonard's? Compared to Lilly's? Compared to anyone else's at the clinic?
  2. Why does James hate his parents so much?
  3. What finally convinces James to apologize to his parents? Why do his parents apologize to him?
  4. Did James's family have any influence on his decision to abuse drugs?

Chew on This

James's parents did they best they could to wrangle a young man who was clearly out of control from an early age.

Or, James's parents did a terrible job, constantly enabling his terrible behavior and doing nothing as it got worse and worse. 

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