In James Franco's defence, the various scenes in this book ARE well-observed. My first feeling was that the material felt like the back-stories an actor might invent, to flesh out a character on-screen. But despite the apparent authenticity, anyone who has spent time in suburban America, or in the company of the well-off-but-tedious, will find this a slightly numbing, and empty experience. It's like Bret Easton Ellis but without the philosophical stance, or the blood-and-guts. Franco may be a great actor, but the notion that he is also a 'Renaissance Man' on the strength of this thin work, is trying a bit too hard. That's not to say he DOESN'T have a great novel in him...but I think perhaps it's a bit early in his career to tell.