Palo Alto

Title: Palo Alto

Author: James Franco

Published: 2010


Palo Alto is an area of California and the setting for a collection of short stories about high school students in the early 1990s.  The stories focus on the every day lives of these students; from parties to dalliances with drugs and alcohol, from crushes to fights, it’s all here.  Each story is told from the perspective of a different student, a student who might reappear in another of the stories, either as a main character or just in a fleeting one sentence passing remark.  

My Thoughts

I have wanted to read Palo Alto ever since I watched the trailer for the film adaptation a few years ago (I still haven’t seen the film).  I randomly selected it from my kindle when I was in Berlin and loved it.  I’m not a huge fan of short stories but I think because all of these stories were based in the same town, focused on similar characters and kind of linked I found this a really enjoyable read.  It was fun remembering where a character had appeared before and sometimes they weren’t mentioned by name until later on in the story so you were almost guessing if the girl in this story was going to be X.  

I think we are all a little guilty of judging books written by celebrities and almost passing them over as rubbish – or maybe I’m just talking about myself – but this is a book worth reading.  Nothing incredibly big or overly exciting happens, which almost reflects the idea of being a teenager growing up in a town where not much happens. It’s a simple narrative and works perfectly as an insight into bored teenagers just experimenting and experiencing life. Link to the film trailer 


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