A Million Little Pieces opens with the narrator, James, waking up on an airplane with no recollection of how we got there or where he is going. Badly tattered, he has a hole in his cheek, four broken teeth, and a broken nose. James eventually finds out that the plane is bound for Chicago and that a doctor and two unidentified men brought him on board. James lands to find his parents, who have come all the way from Tokyo to pick him up, waiting for him. We soon find out that James is 23 years old and has been an alcoholic for ten years, a crack addict for three, and is wanted by the police in three different states on several charges. James's parents are saddened by his appearance and drive him to the family cabin. The next day, they check him into a rehabilitation facility in Minnesota where he is forced to quit his substance abuse. As part of this, he must undergo a series of painful root canals, without any Novocaine because of possible negative reactions to the drugs.
Things improve somewhat when James meets a young woman named Lilly at the dispensary and a friendly, middle-aged career criminal named Leonard at a meal. Both become his friends. Throughout his stay, he refuses to buy into the notion of victim hood, and instead chooses to blame his misfortunes solely on himself and as the result of his own decisions. Because of this view he rejects the concept of the Twelve Steps that is recommended to him at the clinic and chooses to proceed with his recovery without complaint or blame on others, and also with the knowledge that he will die if he begins his substance abuse again.
A Million Little Pieces shows the average struggle of an addict pushing through the hardships and obstacles of Rehab. James learns the value of friendship and learns to take responsibility for his actions, while opening his heart to a stranger against the rules of the Rehab. Throughout the book, one will see how James copes with his painful and horrifying with drawls and will see the dangers of James's potential of relapsing. The reader will often find them self wondering if James will fall in love with Lilly, continue his friendship with Leonard, and stay sober after rehab.
1.) If a family member of yours was an addict and admitted into rehab, how would you support them and help them through their experience? Would you forgive them for their mistakes? Would you try to not let them relapse?
2.) If you were in a situation where you met someone who you were attracted to, would you go against the rules just to meet up with them or would you end it there and abide by the rules?
3.)Do you think that because James is not following the Twelve Steps and is taking full responsibility for his actions he will have more difficulties coping with his past addictions?