One-Minute Book Reviews

March 16, 2009

2009 Delete Key Awards First Runner-Up — James Frey’s ‘Bright Shiny Morning’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:33 am
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The 2009 Delete Key Awards first runner-up is James Frey’s novel of Los Angeles, Bright Shiny Morning (Harper).

All the controversy about A Million Little Pieces may have left some people with the mistaken idea that James Frey is great writer who went astray. In fact, Frey is an average – and often much worse than average – writer whose perceived sins won him a fame he might never achieved on the strength of his writing alone. His Bright Shiny Morning reads at times like an entry in a Bad Hemingway Parody contest.

Bright Shiny Morning is the Delete Key Awards first runner-up for many lines like:

“He said she would have a better life the sun shining every day more free time less stress she said she would feel like she had wasted a decade trying to get to the major leagues only to demote herself once she got into them.”

The Delete Key Awards recognize the year’s worst writing in books. They are given annually on March 15 or the nearest weekday to it. Other posts about the awards appear on

(c) 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. I haven’t read the book, but it annoyed me that he inserted random facts about L.A. throughout, as if he wanted to prove he’d done research. L.A. is a strange, fascinating place but I’d argue you can’t “know” it, or any city, through research; it refuses to be known that way. I’ve lived here 10 years and I don’t consider myself an expert either, but it seemed a strange way to go about telling an L.A. story, so to speak.

    Comment by sarahsk — March 16, 2009 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • You’re right: It is a strange way of telling the story of the city. You have the sense that Frey wanted to write the big L.A. novel that so many of us would love to read and that the job defeated him.

      Did you ever read David Ulin’s anthology of literature about the city? I haven’t but would love to.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 16, 2009 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  2. I haven’t either, but I liked the link you had to his L.A. Times review of “Bright Shiny Morning,” so I bet I’d enjoy it. (Also let me bang my head against the wall while remembering how much Frey was paid for this book!!)

    Comment by sarahsk — March 16, 2009 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

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