Plagued by the suicides of both his siblings, and heir to alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, and economic ruin, James Brown lived a life clouded by addiction, broken promises, and despair. In "The Los Angeles Diaries," he reveals his struggle for survival, mining his past to present the inspiring story of his redemption. Beautifully written and ...Read MorePlagued by the suicides of both his siblings, and heir to alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, and economic ruin, James Brown lived a life clouded by addiction, broken promises, and despair. In "The Los Angeles Diaries," he reveals his struggle for survival, mining his past to present the inspiring story of his redemption. Beautifully written and limned with dark humor, these twelve deeply confessional, interconnected chapters address personal failure, heartbreak, the trials of writing for Hollywood, and the life-shattering events that finally convinced Brown that he must "change or die." In "Snapshot," Brown is five years old and recalls the night his mother "sets fire to an apartment building down the street." In "Daisy," Brown purchases a Vietnamese potbellied pig for his wife to atone for his sins, only to find the pig's bulk growing in direct proportion to the tensions in his marriage. Harrowing and brutally honest, "The Los Angeles Diaries" is the chronicle of a man on a collision course with life, who ultimately finds the strength and courage to conquer his demons and believe once more.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2003-07-28 Novelist Brown (Lucky Town; Hot Wire; etc.) mines the explosive territory of his own harsh and complicated life in this gut-wrenching memoir. The youngest child of a mentally ill mother and an absent father, Brown (b. 1957) grew up in the shadow of Hollywood with two older siblings: a brother, a moderately successful actor until his suicide at 27, and a sister who also dreamed of acting but took her life at 44. Brown's tales are harrowing: at five, he and his mother traveled from their San Jose home to San Francisco, where she set an apartment building ablaze. Arson couldn't be proven, but she was imprisoned for tax evasion. At nine, he shared his first drink and high with his siblings; when he was 12, a neighbor attempted to molest him; by 30 he was an alcohol- and cocaine-addicted writer-in-residence. During his marriage's early years, Brown often left his wife to feed his addictions, repeatedly promising her he'd reform. Desperate to fuel his writing career, he attempted screenwriting, but everything he pitched seemed too dark. Brown's genius compels readers to sympathize with him in every instance. Juxtaposed with the shimmery unreality of Hollywood, these essays bitterly explore real life, an existence careening between great promise and utter devastation. Brown's revelations have no smugness or self-congratulation; they reek of remorse and desire, passion and futility. Brown flays open his own tortured skin looking for what blood beats beneath and why. The result is a grimly exquisite memoir that reads like a noir novel but grips unrelentingly like the hand of a homeless drunk begging for help. Agent, Lisa Bankoff. (Oct.) Forecast: With blurbs from Michael Chabon, Janet Fitch and Tim O'Brien; author appearances in the West and Pacific Northwest; a 50-city radio satellite tour; and national print ads, Brown's book could attract a fairly wide audience. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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