Saturday, February 1, 2014

"The Devil got in the car with him and sat shotgun"

A California Childhood by James Franco

I recently read A California Childhood by perpetual squinter and all-around nice guy James Franco. Until his good-natured Comedy Central Roast last year, I only knew him as an actor in Spider-Man, Pineapple Express127 Hours, and Spring Breakers, among others, and of course this awesome Justin Bieber parody. During the roast, Franco was often confronted for his books and art, which I knew nothing about, so I decided to check out his work.

A California Childhood is not so much a memoir as it is a collection of Franco's art, photos, poems and short stories. The central themes are childhood, adolescence, and to some extent, California's starkly divided Palo Alto, where Franco grew up. I found it difficult to reconcile the sunny first part of the book with the darker second part, and I wouldn't particulary define his writing as 'ambitious', but overall, A California Childhood very much adds to the legend that is James Franco.

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