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Palo Alto


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From acclaimed Hollywood actor/director James Franco comes a stunning work of fiction - the coming-of-age of a whole generation.

About the Author

James Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, and artist. His film appearances include Milk, Pineapple Express, the Spider-Man trilogy, Howl, and Eat, Pray, Love. On television, he starred in the critically acclaimed series Freaks and Geeks. Franco has presented his visual art at the Clocktower Gallery in New York, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, and McSweeney's. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College and has studied in the creative writing MFA program at Columbia and the film MFA program at New York University.


Actor Franco, perhaps best known for his roles in Spider-Man and Milk, makes his debut as a writer with this collection of 11 short stories about restless adolescents in Palo Alto, CA. Most involve experimentation with sex and drugs. Marijuana, especially, provides a backdrop, and sex is the source of both desire and guilt. His strongest offerings are two longer tales that focus on young women. In "Chinatown," Pam, who has a beat-up face, allows boys to do whatever they like with her-and they do. In "April," a girl is taken advantage of by one of her teachers. While the earlier stories suffer from a bland prose style and lack satisfying conclusions, the latter entries show a writer coming into his own. Franco does a good job of revealing a particular group of kids in a particular place, and his dialog crackles. VERDICT Recommended for readers not afraid to confront the realities of troubled teens, this book can be likened to Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, but for a younger generation.-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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