Book No. 21 – Palo Alto

7 Dec

I have to admit that initially, the main appeal of this book for me was the fact that the author is none other than JAMES FRANCO! If you don’t know who that is you must be living under a rock. For real. Anyways, I purchased the book because I am a fan of James Franco (just like every other female on the planet!) and I didn’t even really care what it was about. I read this book twice. The first time I got through the book and thought, WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT THIS IS! Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the man of my dreams was a horrible writer! About a week later I decided to take a second look at the book and re read it. This time most of it really resonated with me and I realized it is beautifully written and has a lot of depth to it. “Palo Alto,” is basically a book about the lost generation of Palo Alto, California. It ties together stories of different adolescent youths who are all growing up in the same area. It’s a rather ominous book about troubled California teenagers and misfits who experiment with all kinds of vices, struggle with family and their peers, and tend to be self destructive. I think EVERYONE can relate to this book because we all go through our adolescents a little lost and unsure. I remember being in high school just two years ago thinking I was so lost and misunderstood and that as soon as I got to college everything would just fall into place. How naive I was to think that way! If anything, I feel more lost now than I did in high school. What are we doing with our lives? How did we get here? Two questions I frequently ask my friend Haden. His response, “I have no fucking clue.” I often feel like I’m stuck in a fog that never goes away. I can’t see whats ahead of me and I have no idea what that next step brings. Stuck in the fog. Wandering aimlessly through it wanting to find my way out, but holding on to the hope that I never do, because once I do, well then I’m in the real world… and that is pretty fucking scary. Not a fun place to be, but I’m sure it’s a phase we all go through. That is, unless you’re one of those kids brought up in wealthy homes with trust funds waiting for you, in which case it doesn’t matter what the future brings because you’re set for life. Lucky bastards. It’s funny though, how those trust fund kids tend to end up more screwed up then the rest of us. (at least in my experience so far). They always seem to be just a little bit more lost than the rest of us. (Marissa from the O.C. anyone???) But seriously, I remember feeling just last year that my life was like re-runs on TV. Not the good kind of re-runs either, like Friends or Sex and The City. I’m talking about the bad re-runs, the kind you don’t want to see more than once. This is what my life felt like – boring and predictable. Growing up all we want is security, to be sure of ourselves, of our futures, and especially to know who we are. Not an easy feat. In high school I felt so insanely lost and misunderstood that I did things I’m sure many adolescents do. I drank too much. I smoked the occasional cigarette. I lied too much. I fought with my parents. I was a good friend. I was a bad friend. I trespassed on private property. I snuck out of the house all the time. I spent the night at boys houses. I stole other girls boyfriends. I skipped school. I went skinny dipping. I got a tattoo. I partied hard. And I drank some more. I was naive. And then I was not. I didn’t care about anything and nobody cared about me. Nothing mattered to me, but I so desperately wanted something or someone to make me feel. Feel anything at all. I wanted someone to save me from the feeling of being so adrift. I wanted someone to sit me down and say, “You are not alone. I understand how you feel. I feel it too.” With time, I felt less and less like nothing in the world mattered, and I have even come to believe in a few things. In time, we will all become more certain of our purpose. I have to believe that to help get me through, but I really do think it’s true. So that phase in which you do something reckless or self destructive, it will pass because you won’t always feel this lost. It’s funny how people always try to tell you how to live your life when deep down they don’t even know how to live their own. We are all just wanderers on a cosmic journey, dancing and twirling through life, waiting for someone to give our lives purpose and hoping that someday, something will make sense.

“Still too young to fail, too scared to sail away. But one of these days, I’ll grow old and I’ll grow brave and I’ll go… One of these days.”

We’re all just a bunch of lost souls trying to find our way in this world. So, from one lost soul to another let me tell you that this feeling that you can’t seem to shake, the feeling that you’ve fallen through the cracks, that feeling is totally normal. We all feel it or have felt it before. Maybe some of us will feel lost forever whereas others will eventually find their way, regardless of the outcome, we are all in this together. We may be lost, tragically misunderstood or wandering through life with no purpose, but we are alive. And so I will leave you all with this : Be strong, be true, be brave. Endure. Someday you’ll be glad you did.


Taylor Jordan


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