The Los Angeles Diaries: A Memoir

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by James Brown

This is the heart-breaking story of the author and his brother and sister, all of whom struggled with multiple addictions and tragedies.

Both of Brown’s siblings, Barry and Marilyn Brown, were aspiring actors. Against the sparkling promises of Hollywood, the Browns’ struggles seem particularly dark and hopeless.

Ultimately, Brown’s brother and sister decide they can’t go on and commit suicide. Brown also decides he can’t go on, but he, with the help of the woman who becomes his second wife, stops using drugs and alcohol.

Brown moves from past to present, changing the focus of the story from his mother to his siblings and to their father. Stories of addiction so often become hopeless treadmills of denial and self-destruction. Brown portrays his family with hopes, goals, frustrations, connections and disappointments. Alcohol and drugs help fill the emptiness and fears, but ultimately betray them all.

Brown is sympathetic but open-eyed and realistic in his story-telling.

This book was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Independent of London.
In his book, THIS RIVER, Brown continues his story where The Los Angeles Diaries ended.

About the Author: James Brown (1957 – )

Born in Santa Clara, James Brown studied creative writing at San Francisco State University and then earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine.
His own life provided ample seeds for his fiction: his mother once took him from their San Jose home to San Francisco where she set an apartment building on fire. Although the authorities couldn’t prove the arson, they did imprison his mother for tax evasion. He and his siblings were getting drunk and high when Brown was nine-years-old.
Brown has won numerous awards including the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction writing and a Chesterfield Film Writing Fellowship from Universal/Amblin Entertainment. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
He teaches in the master’s of fine arts program at California State University, San Bernardino, and lives with his family in Lake Arrowhead.


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