Title: Hollywood Dreaming
Author: James Franco
Genre: Non-Fiction (?)
Summary:In his follow-up to the critically acclaimed A California Childhood, James Franco presents a compelling portrait of the life of a young actor coming into his own in Hollywood. Told in an absorbing array of literary styles and art forms—from short stories and poems to personal snapshots, paintings and self-portraits—Hollywood Dreaming brilliantly pieces together the youth of a seemingly familiar actor, playfully blurring the line between reality and fiction. The escapades of a jaded Hollywood insider counter a series of inter-connected stories about a boy named Shrimp and the hopeful young actor he becomes. Each piece of the story, whether visual or textual, thoughtfully peels away another layer of the book’s protagonist, whose character unfolds like a Russian nesting doll.
Final Rating: ♥ / ♥♥♥♥♥
I would never have picked this book up if I hadn’t paid $30 for it, stood in line for 3 hours to get it signed by the man himself. And I cannot stress how disappointed I am because I really wanted to like this book. I was intrigued by the collage-esque format of the book: an infusion of fiction yet non-fiction, pictures, art, stories and poems. I didn’t like it one bit.
The poems were mediocre and boring. Just prose, in fact, with random spaces and punctuation thrown around in it. The prose was uninspiring. Most of the pictures/art was disturbing and pointless. The different pieces were all thrown together to form a chaotic confusion of shiny pages and frustration. The book felt more like the ramblings, incoherent thoughts of a strange, disturbed man rather than a cohesive piece of work.
I disliked Franco’s commentary on his peers. His piece on Lindsay Lohan was fascinating and entertaining, but disturbing beyond belief. It made me uncomfortable, and so did a lot of his other commentaries on people like Sean Penn and Keanu Reeves.
I was not into this at all. I was turning the pages, trying to get it over with, determined to read it all because I’m a fucking masochist who likes to know what crap she spent her money on.
Having said that, James Franco – in person – was absolutely charming, and he drew a heart beneath my name when he signed my book. I do not regret buying this book. I just regret my appreciation of James Franco’s smile, because if this appreciation hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t have bought it, and then wouldn’t have felt compelled to read it.