Straight James / Gay James by James Franco
*Click the link or the image above to read the synopsis and preorder your own copy. This is releasing June 2nd!*
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I almost feel bad for even “promoting” this book by writing a review. I was honestly lost more than 90% of the time while I read through this “poetry” book. I just…did not understand it…at all. There were only a couple of poems where I found myself saying “alright…I guess this one makes sense.” There is no other way for me to put it than to say I was just absolutely and utterly LOST!
I wanted to put this book down and just give up on it. But I thought maybe I was just having a difficult time because I’m not as familiar with James Franco either as an actor or a person in general. I decided that I was going to keep reading because of this and give him and his “poems” a chance.
This book took me about 50 minutes to finish; 50 minutes of my life I will never get back. But to be fair, like I mentioned, there were a couple poems that I wasn’t TOO lost on. One of them was “I Was Born Into A World.”
I’ve yet to read a book,
Or watch a film about a future
I’d like to live in.
Fortunately for me,
I’ll die before the earth
“I Was Born Into A World” was quite an eye opener in one way or another, if I do say so myself. James Franco touches on some of the issues that we, globally, are faced with. He talks about the very land we live in and the way we have neglected some aspects of nature. With this being said, I was quite impressed. I thought perhaps this book wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
Another poem that really caught my attention was “Hello Woman.” In Hello Woman, James Franco talks about wanting to be a woman, but not necessarily because he doesn’t enjoy being a man, but because he merely loves a woman’s body, strength, looks and mind even more. I may be over analyzing this piece, but I think this is a good poem that touches on gender identity. It is something that many people struggle with and perhaps this piece could help those who are trying to search for who they really are and are feeling alone in their journey.
I just want to be a woman.
But I will never be woman.
I am man, trapped in man.
I have no escape from this body,
This mind, this upbringing.
My only escape is a poem,
Feel the curves
They are the liquid shape
Of my woman body.
After reading this particular piece, I was even more impressed than when I read I Was Born Into A World. At this point, I was sure I was going to love the rest of the book. But boy, was I ever wrong. From there on out, I was again LOST! I was more than disappointed because I felt I was wronged. How are you going to give me a beautiful piece like Hello Woman and then completely turn around and give me weird, pretentious pieces?! I may be overreacting, but come on!
Not only was the rest of the book an utter disappointment for me, I also found the end just absolutely strange! Gay James Franco interviews Straight James Franco. In other words, James Franco interviews James Franco and it was just an absolute mess, in my opinion. I just…didn’t know what to make of it.
Would I recommend this to anybody? No. Do I regret reading it? Eh…just a little… I am glad I ran into a couple beautiful pieces like I Was Born Into A World and Hello Woman, but personally, I don’t think they were worth the trouble. There are many other poems/chapbooks out there that touches on social issues that won’t make you cringe the rest of the way.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*