Review: Katerina

Review for "Katerina" by James Frey (2018)
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

NO NO NO NO NO NO….*slams book on the table with each successive NO*

This book’s terrible. It reads like a bad Tumblr poetry, awful teen fan fiction. Choppy lines, run on sentences, and magnetic poetry kit lines masquerading as style. “Katerina” is the story of Jay, a whiny brat of a dude who goes to live in Paris in the 90’s. All he does in the City of Lights is eat bread, get drunk, vomit, snort coke, sleep, have sex, and share his opinions on the superiority of French culture and art, which I really don’t care about. Somewhere in the middle of all this he tries to establish himself as a writer, though I don’t care about this either. He falls in love with a Norwegian model named Katerina, who is equally as shallow and as horny as Jay is. We suffer through dozens of their awkwardly written sex scenes (trust me, they’re not titillating at all) until they finally have enough of each other and break up. Jay returns to America shortly thereafter and starts smoking crack.

Fast forward to present day and Jay is a nouveau-riche writer and still a douchebag. He is married and making tons of money writing, though he hates himself for doing so. He’s contacted by Katerina and they begin chatting online. The present-day scenes are interpersed throughout the text with ones from the past, and are eerily reminiscent of his James Frey’s current life, including his “Million Little Pieces” controversy. For the third time, I don’t care about this. I’ve never read his first book and never will. I do care about how bad this book is though. Ugh.

Every now and then the book manages to say something interesting, but most of it is so ridiculously shallow and self-indulgent it’s not impossible to wonder how it managed to get published, though the author’s notoriety is probably a good reason. Anyway, skip this. Please.

6 thoughts on “Review: Katerina”

  1. I love your scathing reviews so much!! This sounds wretched and narcissistic. Also: “He is married and making tons of money writing, though he hates himself for doing so.” Get out of here. What a terrible tragic problem to have, creative outlet in work and financial stability all in one. This sounds gross all around and I’m annoyed by him although I’ve never read his memoir/novel/whatever it was either and have no desire to, he comes across so desperate.


    1. Aww, thank you. Often I am aiming for humor when I write bad reviews (what the hell else is there?), but this one was just…UGHHH! James Frey is such a whiny man, his book reflects this. So bad…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d never heard of this book before reading your review. I’m actually kind of surprised that publishing companies kept putting out James Frey’s book after his ‘memoir’ was revealed to be complete bullshit. I would have thought that would have been the end of his career, but apparently his books hold appeal for somebody. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I was shocked too, because honestly…he’s not that great of a writer. I did read “Bright Shiny Morning” a long time ago and it’s about on the same level as this one, slightly better though. Ugh…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s crazy that James Frey managed to get away with publishing a fake memoir, but honestly, the JT Leroy controversy is waayy weirder. Have you heard of ‘him?’


      2. Yes, I know! In Katerina, the character explains that he wanted it to be fiction but was told that the book wouldn’t sell, so he changed it (uh huh)…*rolls eyes*. I still have no interest in reading it.

        I have heard of JT Leroy, even managed to read one of her books (I’ll say “her” because the writer was revealed to be a woman). I came to it long after the controversy though, so I read it as fiction. I don’t know about that one though. It’s ok to write a “memoir” but the deception part is a problem for me. Just be honest with people, ya know?

        Liked by 1 person

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