I, like I am sure many of you, was intrigued by this book/movie combo due to the fact that James Franco wrote it.
I mean, can you blame me?
He is a mega-babe and it only makes him so much more attractive that he is a smarty-pants and both teaches and writes literature. I mean, come on!
Anyways, I heard about the book when I heard about the movie and made it a point that I would read the book before I saw the movie. That is just usually how I do things.
So, before my discount was up at Urban, I made sure to buy the book-yes, the cheesy one with the movie poster as the cover art (oh well)- and I read it in less than a week.
It really isn’t a long book, but it is a bit of a difficult read, at least it was for me.
Not in a like “I’m not at a high enough reading level to read this book” but more like “shit this is intense I need to take a break for a minute”.
Content wise, the book is very truthful and raw. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I can only imagine how epic it is watching the scenes unfold. Just reading them and imagining the way things are happening, it was giving me so much anxiety.
The letter from Franco at the end of the book offers a lot of insight into the way the story was written and why.
The story is a bunch of little stories. Some of them connect to each other and some of them do not.
It is meant to mimic life as a teenager. Everything is linked and intertwined, it all has something to do with something, but we (as teenagers) take it all in fragments because we can’t see the bigger picture or because we refuse to do so.
Being a teenager is hard whether you grew up in a harsh environment like the one described in the novel or if you grew up in a place like Eastlake; a mostly picturesque suburb.
Not knowing who you are and trying to figure it out while going through so many other things and not having the mental capacity to comprehend and handle most of it is what being a teenager is all about.
It is a real angsty time in a persons life and that is what the book portrays.
Franco mentions that he intended for the book to be a tribute to a friend from his childhood who died and he wanted some of their adventures to be commemorated. But, it turned into more hypothetical scenarios influenced by many people he didn’t and didn’t know while growing up.
Overall, the book keeps you in suspense of what these little shit-heads will do next and at times makes you cringe remembering that some of the things that happen in the book, very likely happened at your own high school. It is both reassuring and stomach churning that we once lived like this, some of us still do and that generations after us, teenagers will still be going through insane things like this.
Everyone can find themselves in the characters of this story or can relate to the pain they experience. I strongly believe in taking time to evaluate your high school experience and what it means to the rest of your life.
I, more than anyone I know, was excited to leave that piece of crap place because I did not really enjoy my time there the way that I thought I was supposed to and taking a look back on my time there, my relationships and the way I went about things has really helped me figure out where I want to go with my life and I think this book has a way of expressing that importance as well.
As a somewhat adult, reading this book I was constantly thinking about the consequences of the actions the characters were getting into, but they as characters couldn’t have cared less, and had I been there age, I might not have either. There is something there to be thought about.
To me, the goal of the tragic stories being turned into one eye-opening work of art is to remind people that the hardship, awkwardness and horrible things that occur in your teenage years can be most of the fuel in which you use to create beauty later on in life.
Of course when in the depths of these occurrences, it is hard to see the artistic light at the end of the tunnel. But for me, being about 3 years out of high school at this point, can understand the beauty of it and how it has pushed me along in my artistic journey.
The book has for sure inspired me to take a look at some of the writing I did while in school and see if any of it is possibly worth sharing with anyone besides the four walls in my room.
But we will see.
All in all, the book was a great read and I am really excited that I finally have permission from myself to watch the movie.
So, tell me what you thought about the movie or book, what do you think about using your teenage years as fuel for art, but most importantly, what do you think about James Franco? LOL