My copy of KATERINA is underlined and dog-eared. It left me crying on the last page and wrenched emotion from me on every page. I loved returning to James Frey’s writing style from A MILLION LITTLE PIECES (which I will now reread). It’s poetic and powerful, breaking the rules of grammar and punctuation — which I find artistic, bold and freeing.
If you’re not one for swearing or crudeness, be forewarned, this book is loaded. I’d actually love to see a word count for the “F” word — maybe even as a percentage of total words. KATERINA (like Frey’s other books) is gritty, raw, raunchy, explicit and personal.
I’d really never before thought about how, as writers, our art is constrained — by punctuation, spelling, grammar, rules, rules, rules. It’s unlike any other form of art. No one tells an artist how to use his materials or what materials are acceptable. A photographer can put film into sand, light or salt water to see what happens. But writers are edited. Must put commas and quotation marks where they belong. Use semi-colons. I hate semi-colons. Frey’s writing illuminated something for me — even though I’ll still listen to my beloved editor and not string together two complete sentences with only a comma. But I admire his writing for the very fact that he ignores the rules and writes. It’s clearly from his heart and gut, and it pours out feeling honest. I felt that with A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, despite the inherent dishonesty surrounding its publication. There’s something true about the way he writes.
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