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Palo Alto: Stories Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 19, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the stuff of every Creative Writing class you took as an undergrad. It's all Holden Caulfield crabby and Bret Easton Ellis name-droppy; gruesome with those obnoxious one-liner sentences that are meant to be profound in their brevity. The racial issues are slapped on strangely, and the tone is mushy oatmeal bland. "Killing Animals" was worth reading, but even then, it feels like Ellis fan fiction.
Now I'm pretending Franco did write them. Look my man, you have many rich and successful friends. Many of whom are writers who like you because you're a cool dude. You're also a hunk. This is working against you. If my mom wrote a book called "imma Real Gud Mama", I'd tell her she was the next Faulkner.
Get some unbiased advice, sweetheart. And call me.
But there's a problem. The planet's brightest students have to crawl over broken glass to complete one of these graduate programs. How is it possible that Franco can do six at the same time? There are several possibilities. Maybe Franco really is the second coming of Leonardo da Vinci. But here's a line from one of his short stories: "The building is beige, but the shadows make it shadow-color." So maybe not.
It's more likely that Franco is riding some sort of grotesque wave of snowballing prestige, one that attempts to shield him from his quite evident averageness. It's been said that his classmates feel protective of him. In other words, they like him, they're charmed by him, they're pleased to have him in their midst, and they want to shield him from the fact that he's in a million miles over his head.
Franco is unique, but in a totally typical way. He is the cartoonish example of the high-achieving young person who takes 15 AP classes and does 20 extracurriculars in order to look impressive and gain status and admission and acceptance. But it isn't possible to do that many things with any sort of skill or competence. The result is a book that is so vapid and soulless and contrived as to be hard to look at.
Palo Alto is a super wealthy and super conservative suburb full of doctors and Stanford professors. Most of the houses are enormous and expensive, half the cars are Mercedes, and the schools are exceptional because the city is loaded. A lot of teenagers became bored of being well to do and having status and high educational expectations to live up to. This didn't come across much at all in the book. These characters just seemed like average, stupid, overly sexed teenagers.
Aside from the location references, why was it even called Palo Alto?
I was wrong. So wrong and Palo Alto: Stories is now only the second book I have voluntarily not finished.
The stories are feeble attempts at expressing adolescent angst but end up being boring, trivial and trite. It's Bret Easton Ellis without the scathing social commentary. It's a number of nondescript stories with interchangeable, cliched and totally unlikable narrators.
I have read better stories in lower level creative writing courses. If James Franco wasn't James Franco, these stories would rightfully be gathering dust somewhere far far away.
Not worth the time. Certainly not worth the purchase. One of the worst collections I have ever read. Stay away.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read by a talented writer. Would definitely read more of Franco's fiction. A real raw look at today's teenage experience.Published 1 month ago by Robbie Tripp
Started and finished this book in a car ride from WA state to Utah. Amazing. Would suggest it 100% over the movie any day - it is amazing. Well written and unforgettable.Published 3 months ago by Aleesa Kate
Some of the stories were very touching, nostalgic; others were somewhat disturbing portraits of teenage ennui and outright deviancy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by anne s.
The description of this is savage oh my god. Way to get people not to buy this collection, amazon 👌Published 4 months ago by Rayne
James Franco, a well known actor, filmmaker, and upcoming author, writes his novel Palo Alto about teens who struggle with their journey to self discovery. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer