John Perrodin

John Perrodin co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, released in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit to find out more about the book. John is also the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild.

Bright Shiny is Dull Boring

Just say “no”

“Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable.” That’s easily the most amusing writing (and irony) offered by James Frey in Bright Shiny Morning. This terse line is found just after the title page of his numbingly dull novel. Given Frey’s problems with phony memoirs, such a warning probably isn’t necessary.

What’s wrong with the book? Everything. From the cheap-looking cover to the annoying, long-winded chapters. Hopeless characters plod across the pages—dozens of them to be inexact.

And you’ll discover that you don’t give a rip about a single one of them. From Amberton Parker—public heterosexual, private homosexual—to the pathetic, fat-thighed Esperanza, the reader is tormented by a cast so poorly drawn and ill-defined that you might think Frey had never written a novel before.

Oh, that’s right. He hasn’t. And he shouldn’t have bothered with this one.

The run-on no punctuation sentences get annoying mighty quick. And yet, Bright Shiny Morning was proudly printed and promoted by Harper Collins, no less. Maybe someone reading this rant could be a published novelist by now if this nearly 500-page stack of drivel had been rightfully rejected. Just say “no.” Editors have no qualms about using that line on far more worthy efforts.

I haven’t even gotten to the worst parts of the book.

Besides the dull, monotone voice taken in the narrative, Frey tortures his readers by adding in pages of “facts about Los Angeles.” So it’s like getting two boring books in one. A clunky, perverse history of LA, and a parade of characters swirling down the toilet. Unfortunately, there’s no ultimate destination where each tired, tacky story entwines for a meaningful ending. Nope. You just get to watch a collection of sad people come to the realization that life stinks. And it’s all God’s fault.

Yeah, there’s that. Frey clearly wasn’t trying to create a new Christian classic, but he seems to take pride in going out of his way to blame the Almighty for everything. Prayers are never answered, babies are left fatherless, an old drunk’s friend dies. It’s all bad. And God’s the ultimate Bad Guy. Looking at a crucifix, the creatively named character, Old Man Joe, emotes the following gibberish:

You want and say you deserve and we must or we are condemned all you give us is this, this world where children get burned alive and men spend their money blowing each other up and women sell themselves to feed and all we see is destruction and war and mayhem in your name and it never gets better and you never stop all-knowing and all-powerful it never ends. It never ends. And it never will.

Seriously, that was published. And, no, there aren’t any typos in there. My suggestion? Don’t waste your time reading Bright Shiny Morning. Unless you enjoy stories about porn, the foulest of language, and the dumbest of plots.

Dull Dark Night. That would have been a better title. Maybe that’s what Frey can call the sequel.

Simple Little Words