Katerina – James Frey

Happy pub day!

Thanks to Gallery Books for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

KATERINA – James Frey (out now!)

This is the first book that Frey has written in a decade – his other books include A MILLION LITTLE PIECES and BRIGHT SHINY MORNING.


My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!

Right away, I know this writing style and the content won’t be for everyone. This was my introduction to Frey – I had heard the controversy surrounding A MILLION LITTLE PIECES but had never gotten around to reading it. KATERINA is a quick moving novel with a very unique writing style. It’s quick, packs a punch, and holds nothing back. There’s plenty of drinking, drug use, sex, and swearing to go around.

We go back and forth between Paris in 1992 and Los Angeles in 2017. There are snippets of history sections (of Jay’s past that brought him to Paris) and then other cities he travels to in 2017. We get the raw emotions and uncensored thoughts that fly through Jay’s mind. Not only about writing, but art, where he visits in Paris, and his love for a woman he found in Paris.

Some say this is potentially autobiographical, but might be hesitant to label it that after A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. Whether it is or not, I was captivated. The writing style is what intrigued me the most. Some where short bursts but they helped capture the moment. The only thing that I took awhile to adjust to was the way he wrote conversations. No quotation marks and it sometimes wasn’t clear who was talking in the exchange.

I thought it was compelling seeing the difference between the past and present. The way that Jay has changed throughout life. Going from 1992 as he left behind his life in the US and roamed around Paris wanting to write and enjoy doing whatever he wanted to 2017 where he has a more traditional life – married with kids.

You get a real feel for Jay and I can hear some of these conversations going on. Sounds a lot like some of my friends – the swearing and how all over the place it can seem at times. If you want something raw, unique, and aren’t afraid of something a little vulgar, then I would highly recommend picking this one up!


Have you read Frey’s other books? Would you recommend I pick some of them up?


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