The prominent theme of Frey’s autobiography is a teenage struggle with drugs and other substances abuse and with the pursuit of parental approval. At teenage years, Frey became a hardcore drug addict who could hardly spend time with his family. He spent most of his days with friends, who later felt that he needed help. It was this feeling that made them persuade an aircraft pilot to help ferry James Frey home to meet his parents. Indeed, they had consulted with James’ parents who agreed to try a rehabilitation centre in Minnesota. Although recovery rate at the centre was very dismal - only 20%, James’ parents were determined to give it a try as it was one of the last options available. The story entails an in-depth exposure of Frey’s painful life experiences at the rehabilitation clinic. According to the autobiography, James was forced to quit drugs and substances abuse in order to start an eventful transition that certainly saved his life. For instance, Frey was coerced into participating in a family program at the rehabilitation centre with his parents in spite of his stiff opposition to the idea (Frey, 2003).
The main personality of James conspicuously appeared when he had a session with his parents to discuss his life and fate. In this session, the teenage addict became very frank with his parents, in what seemed to have been unrivaled height of honesty. He took the time to review and reflect on his personal life as an alcohol and drug addict, while pondering over what this meant for his fate. According to James Frey, there was something deep in his head that he had to fight with. In fact, it was this “fury” that got him into drug and substance abuse. James felt a strong determination to kill it first before he could enjoy a more peaceful and meaningful life. However, the people he met at the rehabilitation clinic played a big role in his eventual ‘shaping up’. For instance, Frey conceded that the mafia boss played a critical role in his eventual recovery from drug and substance abuse. Besides, he personally credited a woman drug addict he met at the clinic for his eventual recovery. In spite of strict contact between males and females at the clinic, James was able to fall in love with the woman who did not only help him to recover, but ensured he never relapsed back into drug and substance abuse. The whole transformation looked genuine from James’ own description. In fact, what was initially thought to be his memoir turned out to be fictions, thereby casting negative aspersions as to whether Frey had recovered. Nonetheless, the fundamental idea is that he was an addict who recovered in spite of the fact that his writings extremely exaggerated the extent of his addiction (Frey, 2005).
Indeed, therapy requires a lot of reviewing, reflecting as well as attempting to re-write one’s life. This is what marked Frey’s life while he was at the rehabilitation clinic. The fact of being to gether with people who have the same problem as his, gave him the impression that he could actually recover. Although not entirely related to Frey’s life, I have had a similar problem with my personal life. Having been brought up in a conservative set up away from home, I grew up to be quite socially withdrawn, especially with respect to friends of my age. I grew up in an orphanage after my parents passed on when I was 5. This became my home for the following several years, implying that my life was defined more by my staying at the orphanage. For instance, the fact that socializing between males and female sexes was almost prohibited at the child care centre, made me extremely shy. Although I had a few male friends, the number of female friends continued to shrink as my life progressed (Frey, 2003).
By the time I got 18, I had virtually no close female friend and only a few male friends. This certainly spelt doom to my pursuit of a partner as it was already “the right time” for me to start. Indeed, I felt a lot of pressure both from me as well as from the social setting where I lived.I needed to forge partnerships. My friends would occasionally invite me for parties where they would come with their girlfriends. In fact, a few seemed to be coming with a different girl to every event. They must have had a real magic that enabled them convince all those ladies, when I could not possibly convince any. It was certainly a lonely moment in my life that perhaps pushed me onto doing the unimaginable. With no parental love and little acceptance from friends and relatives, I had to find something more gratifying and which would make me feel as “human” as my friends were (Frey, 2005).
At 23, I was done with my college education and successfully secured a job in the county government. Although I got enough money from my job, I was seriously deprived of social satisfaction. It was at this moment that I decided to use a bit of my earnings to obtain social satisfaction. Unfortunately, I found it in seeking sexual favors from commercial sex workers. In spite of the fact that I knew the great risk I was putting my life into, I opted to be blind to these realities. That was before I encountered a rather young client, Claire..She was in her 20s, cute and presentable. For a moment I stopped to think what could have brought her into the trade. Eventually, I decided to establish a close contact with her. After all, she was cute enough to be a girlfriend. This, however, did not take long. It appeared she knew me so well. It was a big surprise when she claimed that we had been together at the child care centre. I could not imagine that we had not known each other before, although it was understandable, considering the extent of social restraint that was put on our movements (Frey, 2003).
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Frey’s point of view, philosophy and ideas are further pushed in the story “How do you think it makes your mother feel?” Critics of James Frey are likely to jump into attack of almost every justification that surrounds the fact that he allegedly put falsehood in what was supposed to be his memoirs..Instead of assuming an entrenched position to justify himself or at least defend,, James Frey tackles the issues of his own life from a typical socio-cultural point of view. This was done by making references to his weaknesses as a person and not justifying them, but rather paying homage to those people around James Frey who put an effort of different kinds to ensure that after being a slave he eventually became a master.
The main question of critical thinking is posed as “How do you think it makes your mother feel?” This title has been adopted in several other writings to signify the role that good parenthood can play in one’s life. As socio-cultural beings, we are most likely to react to issues not just from a perspective of how we feel about it, but also how would other people around us feel and react. The needs to satisfy the teaming masses hinder to see and understand the truth. The result of such an influence can be seen everywhere.
Writers who make references to James Frey’s “How do you think it makes your mother feel?” give a lot of credits to the ‘mature’ writing. The author managed to describe all the difficulties and misery caused by drugs and other substances abuse. Those writers overlooked the castigation that the public was expecting them to give to Frey.
It is worth mentioning that James Frey’s own mother escorted through all the ‘bad’ times to the extent. She even appeared on national television with him (Frey, 2005).
In conclusion, James Frey conceded in his book that humans can sometimes go astray in their lives. However, it takes a lot of self-reflection to start a journey that will help to re-write one’s life. In my case, it was Claire who took me through the process of self renewal. Although we met quite strangely, she perfectly understood my situation and always tried to help me and stayed by my side . It is obvious that parents and guardians should not put so much social restraints on their children. That is why championing for bold self-expression of all children remains a worthy course for me. Essentially, “sometimes skulls are thick and sometimes hearts remain vacant” until a thoughtful self-reflection is achieved through honesty (Carr, 2006).
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