Palo Alto by James FrancoA 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 Francos 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 womans 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 bullys own inner life.
These linked stories, stark, vivid, and disturbing, are a compelling portrait of lives on the rough fringes of youth.
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Palo Alto is a collection of linked short stories by American actor and writer James Franco. The collection was published on October 19, , by Scribner's. The stories are about teenagers and their experiments with vices and their struggles with their families. The book is named after his hometown of Palo Alto, California , and is dedicated to many of the writers he worked with at Brooklyn College. Inspired by some of Franco's own teenage memories,   and memories written and submitted by high school students at Palo Alto Senior High School,  the stories describe life in Palo Alto as experienced by a series of teenagers who spend most of their time indulging in driving drunk, using drugs and taking part in unplanned acts of violence. Each passage is told by a young narrator.
The stories are raw and funny-sad, and they capture with perfect pitch the impossible exhilaration, the inevitable downbeat-ness, and the pure confusion of being an adolescent. Franco has a flair for creating these stopped moments that lift a story from its specific setting into a universal place, so that particular meanings resonate out from themselves and redouble their effect. Delightfully coarse, riffing dialogue that hones in on subjects like race and sex, love and violence. Compelling and gutsy. Franco writes with such deep empathy and affinity that one has to wonder if he lived this life.
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