Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces Suffering

By James Frey

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Drug use might look like fun when Lena Dunham does it, but take it from Hannah Horvath: once the high wears off, it's just not that fun anymore. If you've ever seen a drug abuse movie or (ahem) memoir, you know it's all downhill from there: the pain is not pretty. Hangovers. Injuries you can't remember happening. Blackouts. Withdrawal dreams. Vomiting. Lots and lots of vomiting.

If the goal of A Million Little Pieces is to scare us off drug use forever, it sure succeeded. 

Questions About Suffering

  1. What is the most painful part of the recovery process forJames?
  2. Do all the patients suffer in the same way? What do some of the other patients go through that James does not?
  3. Is any of James's suffering self-inflicted?
  4. How does James use his suffering to motivate himself to get better? Does he do this at all?

Chew on This

The pain of withdrawal acts as both an incentive to get better (so as not to experience the pain again) <em>and </em>to use again (so as to obliterate the bad feelings of withdrawal).

It's difficult to tell if James writes in so much detail about the pain he's suffering because it was <em>so painful </em>or because he didn't actually experience this pain at all, and he's just trying to <em>convince</em> us he did.

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