West Coast Memories
Hollywood's multi-hyphenate James Franco comes out with another book dedicated to his hometown Palo Alto.

I can’t help it, I like this one. But then again, I tend to like everything James Franco does with his unbelievable career (as in, I literally can’t believe what he’s made of his multi-hyphenated career).

A California Childhood is essentially a well-produced scrapbook of James Franco’s “greatest hits” growing up in Palo Alto. It’s his second book that pays homage to his hometown—his first book is a short story collection aptly titled Palo Alto—and has generous shout-outs to his family, his friends, and even his ex-girlfriend from high school. The pics are pretty sweet and it’s almost as if you can see the stardom set in young Franco’s eyes.

The book is split into two parts. Part I is a visual feast for any James Francophile (I’m one of them) with overwhelming pages of personal photos, school portraits, art scans, and revisits to little poems and trailing thoughts that drip with his personal observations, teenage angst, and a few questions regarding existentialism. It’s not as heavy as you think; keep in mind these are notes from a boy who grew up in an affluent Bay area suburb during the 80s. Part II of the book is a selection of Franco’s short fiction pieces that have been culled and reprinted from other published sources.

Given what we know about Franco, an actor who also unabashedly dives into artiste mode without any sort of natural transition in between his film projects, it’s almost as if he’s trying to prove with this book that he’s always had a genuine interest in the visual arts and literature, since his teen years. (Not sure if Franco’s validity as an artist is something people still talk about.) Who knows anymore, it’s James Franco. This book could just be another item that’s to be thrown into his overall amassed “body of work.” Or maybe this is all part of a larger inside joke that Franco has with himself. At any rate, I’m all about it.