The first main character would have to be the man named James, which whom you look through his point of view throughout the book. James is a man with an addiction to everything and doesn't like to abide the rules. He seems to be self-centered and difficult many times throughout the book. As a child, James was raised up right in a wealthy and stable home but, still felt like an outsider. He began using drugs at a young age of ten, and progressed and spun wildly out of control from there. This all contributes to his recklessness and self destructiveness.
Then there is Lily. Lily in a way is the complete opposite from James. She came from a horrific childhood where her mother managed to auction her virginity for a syringe full of heroin. James begins to fall in love with Lily, although male and female relations are strictly forbidden in the clinic, they still meet on a regular basis in the woods. Lily is looking to James for a real relationship. Something she hasnt had contact with, being used made her feel somewhat inferior to others, almost as if she isn't good enough. Lily is completely fragile which is why I think she kind of needs James for dependence.
Leonard is a proclaimed important man from Las Vegas. Although to the clinic he may seem as to corrupt James' sobriety he does quite the opposite. Throughout the book Leonard contributes a father-like figure to James and inspires him to progress even further. He may seem upfront and larger than life, but to James he guides him in the right direction and is his best friend.
Joanne is James's psychologist and eases him into direction. A recovering addict herself, Joanne has traveled the world. I got the concept that Joanne is an excellent reader of people and although she's a psychologist, she knows not to push James in the wrong way, and to let him make his own right decisions.
The major setting in this book for me would have to be the dental office. James goes through two root canals, two teeth cappings, and a tooth filling without Novocain. The setting is James wailing as he's strapped down while a dentist drills relentlessly in James mouth. After the dental work in the office, he recognizes a book he once enjoyed as a child, which brings back memories and the need to do better. All throughout the book James had been in a numb-like state with the constant inebriation, but the dentist office incident made him have the ability to truly feel again. This sent a shock throughout his body and mind, and if it weren't for this, I don't think James would've made a full recovery. Also this setting causes a friendship between James and the Hank the janitor when Hank hands James a tennis ball to take away the pain.
One other main setting would be James room where he and his roommate live for the days in the clinic. I think it's an escape for James at night and really helps his progress. I feel that it established stability for James for the repletion of him every night falling to sleep to Miles playing the soothing clarinet. It also built that trust and almost brotherhood amongst Miles and James for them depending on each other every night.
As you begin the book you are confused just as much as the narrator James. He wakes up in an airplane with severe mouth damages with no idea how they came to be or why he's even there. You soon find out that James's plane is bound for Chicago, where he is to meet up with his parents. They're deeply concerned and sad about his condition and immediately go to the family cabin.
Soon James is sent to a rehabilitation clinic where his real story begins. His beginning clinic life consists of vomiting and severe pain. He meets many people who deeply influence him and change his life for the better. James learns that he can truly self rely. A main person in the clinic for James is Lily. She and James have a love relationship, and it they really help each other out, and find truth. Leonard at one point breaks down and cries in front of James and tells him to hold on, now James holds true respect and hold on resonates deeply with James.James feels that his addiction is no illness, it's a weakness. He feels that he must admit to his actions. If and when he takes full ownership of his outcomes, can he successfully complete his journey and become sober and self-dependant. James must also face the hard facts of his criminal past, and pay the consequences. I feel James Frey's meaning for writing this book is to prove that you can basically overcome your own weaknesses, which will make you a stronger person. If you keep numbing yourself from your own realities they'll always haunt you, and in order to escape you must overcome them.
Point of view-the authors writing style is first person, you look and think through James eyes. "If an individual is fat but wants to be thin, it is not a genetic disease. If someone is stupid, but wants to be smart, it is not a genetic disease. If a drunk is a drunk, but doesn't want to be a drunk anymore, it is not a genetic disease. Addiction is a decision." You listen to James thoughts on life, you hear his opinions.