Book Review: Paolo Alto by James Franco

BookReviewsPaolo Alto by James Franco7840834

Published: October 19th 2010


A fiercely vivid collection of stories about troubled California teenagers and misfits–violent and harrowing, from the astonishingly talented actor and artist James Franco.
Palo Alto is the debut of a surprising and powerful new literary voice. Written with an immediate sense of place–claustrophobic and ominous–James Franco’s collection traces the lives of an extended group of teenagers as they experiment with vices of all kinds, struggle with their families and one another, and succumb to self-destructive, often heartless nihilism. In “Lockheed” a young woman’s summer–spent working a dull internship–is suddenly upended by a spectacular incident of violence at a house party. In “American History” a high school freshman attempts to impress a girl during a classroom skit with a realistic portrayal of a slave owner—only to have his feigned bigotry avenged. In “I Could Kill Someone,” a lonely teenager buys a gun with the aim of killing his high school tormentor, but begins to wonder about his bully’s own inner life.

These linked stories, stark, vivid, and disturbing, are a compelling portrait of lives on the rough fringes of youth.



James Franco is so funny, and such a brilliant actor. I’ve had so much respect for him through the years because despite being a Hollywood star he has still made it a point to focus on bettering his education and….Nooooooo. This education does not show in this ‘book’.

This is one of the worst collections of short stories I have ever read in my life. I’m sorry, James. I still love you, I really do. But…please, I beg of you.

Never, ever put a pen to paper and write again–ever.

In a 16 story collection, every story is the same. Not a single story redeems itself by having any sort of good qualities. This collection was so bad…I am still shocked by it. I don’t understand how this can be a movie? How and why?

I can sum up this book with a few short ‘sentences’. Teenagers are bad. Teenagers are racist. Let’s party. You’re soooooo, totally not cool if you don’t party. Drugs are good and bad. Sex is cool.

This collection was trite, unoriginal and dare I say–boring.

I’m sorry, James…I will watch Pineapple Express now and hope I am forgiven for being tremendously disappointed with your writing.

I'm sorry, James. Your book is terrible. I still love you.

I’m sorry, James. Your book is terrible. I still love you.

One last thought: this book was on October 19th 2010, October–could it have been a Halloween prank?

Happy Halloween from James Franco!jf(5)

About Maison Moonchild

A Canadian gal that firmly believes words can change the world. An avid reader, writer and Halloween enthusiast. She has a special interest in communications and writes for pleasure and profession. She moonlights as a metaphysical maven with a knack for creating magical crystal jewelry and holiday accessories.
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