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Palo Alto: Stories by James Franco
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Palo Alto: Stories

by James Franco

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If this hadn't been an audiobook, I would have ditched it after the second story. Whatever that was... I couldn't tell you... They all run together, & they're all bad.

Listening to it as an audiobook, it took me a while to understand that these stories are connected: the Teddy & April in one story are the same people in another. That's because this is loosely bound - no clear chronology, just sometime in high school. Not clearly dated, either, just presumably during Franco's high school years. Whenever they were.

The characters - if they're not in fact autobiographical - are so devoid of humanity that I found myself wishing they WOULD do something drastic, like kill someone, or kill themselves. It might have given some meaning to the point of telling me about these oxygen thieves.

The only story with any value is American History. Everything else ... if Franco is reaching for something, I couldn't tell you what it is. Only in this one did I see a point, a thread running all the way through, beyond just teenaged assholitude.

The only thing I got out of this book is despair that such empty meaningless people as these might be out in the world today. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
James Franco is one of those super-multi-talented people that makes you feel bad because you haven't acheived anything in life and in comparison to him, never will. He's a famous actor, having played the bad boy on Freaks and Geeks and most recently seen on the big screen cutting his arm off in 127 hours and being Allen Ginsberg in Howl. He's a painter, he's ridiculously attractive and he's got a masters degree. Wotta man. But don’t let that put you off reading his book. As part of the aforementioned degree, Franco wrote a series of short stories meditating on the lives of teenagers in the American town of Palo Alto. And so Palo Alto the book came about. It’s really very easy to read, with the simplicity of the writing reflecting the naivety of most of the characters. It is about bad kids struggling to be good, or maybe it is about good kids struggling to be bad. It is about the things kids get up to in a small town, like drinking and smoking and making friends and going to parties and more drinking and making a move on that guy/girl you like and getting into trouble with the cops or school or your parents and generally trying not to be a weirdo that everybody hates. I enjoyed every story in the book, despite the recklessness , but some of the plots or events in different stories were very similar. People get run over by cars on multiple occasions. Which leads me to conclude that Franco ran over someone with a car once and is pretty hung up about it. But that’s okay because it makes for some interesting reading. ( )
  Stuckey_Bowl | Mar 23, 2015 |
James Franco is one of those super-multi-talented people that makes you feel bad because you haven't acheived anything in life and in comparison to him, never will. He's a famous actor, having played the bad boy on Freaks and Geeks and most recently seen on the big screen cutting his arm off in 127 hours and being Allen Ginsberg in Howl. He's a painter, he's ridiculously attractive and he's got a masters degree. Wotta man. But don’t let that put you off reading his book. As part of the aforementioned degree, Franco wrote a series of short stories meditating on the lives of teenagers in the American town of Palo Alto. And so Palo Alto the book came about. It’s really very easy to read, with the simplicity of the writing reflecting the naivety of most of the characters. It is about bad kids struggling to be good, or maybe it is about good kids struggling to be bad. It is about the things kids get up to in a small town, like drinking and smoking and making friends and going to parties and more drinking and making a move on that guy/girl you like and getting into trouble with the cops or school or your parents and generally trying not to be a weirdo that everybody hates. I enjoyed every story in the book, despite the recklessness , but some of the plots or events in different stories were very similar. People get run over by cars on multiple occasions. Which leads me to conclude that Franco ran over someone with a car once and is pretty hung up about it. But that’s okay because it makes for some interesting reading. ( )
  poolspy | Aug 21, 2013 |
Dark ( )
  nicdar111 | Jun 19, 2013 |
I don't know why I read this. Morbid curiosity? A secret taste for masochism? But I remember this was all I brought with me while waiting to renew my health card, and no. Just no. ( )
  anawkwardreader | Mar 30, 2013 |
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A fiercely vivid collection of stories about troubled California adolescents and misfits.

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