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Actors Anonymous: A Novel | [James Franco]

Actors Anonymous: A Novel

The actors in James Franco’s brilliant debut novel include a McDonald’s drive-thru operator who spends his shift trying on accents; an ex-child star recalling a massive beachside bacchanal; hospital volunteers and Midwestern transplants; a vampire flick starlet who discovers a cryptic book written by a famous actor gone AWOL; and the ghost of River Phoenix. Then there’s Franco himself, who prowls backstage, peering out between the lines - before taking the stage with fascinating meditations on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess.
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Publisher's Summary

Nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album

The actors in James Franco's brilliant debut novel include a McDonald's drive-thru operator who spends his shift trying on accents; an ex-child star recalling a massive beachside bacchanal; hospital volunteers and Midwestern transplants; a vampire flick starlet who discovers a cryptic book written by a famous actor gone AWOL; and the ghost of River Phoenix. Then there's Franco himself, who prowls backstage, peering out between the lines—before taking the stage with fascinating meditations on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess. "Hollywood has always been a private club," he writes. "I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, Look inside."

Told in a dizzying array of styles—from lyric essays and disarming testimonials to hilariously rambling text messages and ghostly footnotes—and loosely modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Actors Anonymous is an intense, wild ride into the dark heart of celebrity.

©2013 James Franco (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“In Actors Anonymous, Franco performs an auto-celebrity roast that is at once mordantly funny, maddening and provocative...a kind of intellectual companion piece to his role in This is the End.” (USA Today)

"Subversively funny and provocatively honest, is ostensibly about acting but it's really about a society where everyone's reduced to Actors Anonymous the roles they play. The novel's many narrators fight back against these roles in truly original, often hilarious, and deeply affecting ways. So should we all." (Gary Shteyngart)

“Compelling…entertaining and insightful…genuinely funny.” (The Daily Beast)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

2.8 (104 )
5 star
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2.5 (99 )
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Story
3.5 (98 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Justin NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States 11-22-13
    Justin NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States 11-22-13 Member Since 2013

    Its a fascinating tale that would begin on may 5th, 1989 in Mease Dunedin hospital and from there the legacy grew. I am adult now.

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    "Anonymous"
    Where does Actors Anonymous rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Really explores darker themes then I'm used to hearing, bold too.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    James franco really spoke from the heart with emotion and charisma. I really respect him as an actor and a filmmaker


    Have you listened to any of James Franco’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    this one was a first aside from his film


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-11-14

    just out there

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    "Straight out of the fantasy factory."
    If you could sum up Actors Anonymous in three words, what would they be?

    far out there.`


    What other book might you compare Actors Anonymous to and why?

    unlike any other and i think thats the point


    What about James Franco’s performance did you like?

    he was himself


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    haha the whole book is pretty out there.
    it changed me for about a week


    Any additional comments?

    just look inside a normal life for a kid of his situation

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chablis from Seattle Seattle, WA USA 01-27-14
    Chablis from Seattle Seattle, WA USA 01-27-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Tnoroughly distasteful and self-absorbed"
    Would you try another book from James Franco and/or James Franco?

    No I wouldn't read anything this self-absorbed and semi-educated author would decide to inflict on the public.


    What was most disappointing about James Franco’s story?

    Because of his biography, I expected a literate, informed story. This author is so self-absorbed and arrogant that I winced constantly. If these stories reflect his outlook on life, I would travel half-way around the world to avoid having to listen or read about him in the future.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by James Franco?

    No....


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No


    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-08-15
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    "Yikes!!!"
    Would you try another book from James Franco and/or James Franco?

    Of course. Even Shakespeare wrote a few clangers.


    Has Actors Anonymous turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Nope. There might be a gem in there somewhere, I just haven't encountered one yet.


    Did James Franco do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Were there other characters? It was all too monodull altogether.

    PS: In my opinion, James Franco is an excellent actor but it would take the Holy Spirit to bring this book to life.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I respect James Franco for trying. He's very handsome.


    Any additional comments?

    Perhaps James Franco should take his audience more into account the next time he writes a book. Junky films are one thing - they're easy to watch and wash off, but junky books are another. They're not as forgivable. I don't like discovering that I have wasted time,effort, imagination, and understanding into worthless, self-absorbed crap that ultimately takes me for a fool. No, thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KellyEliza 01-18-15
    KellyEliza 01-18-15

    I like to listen to books!

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    "A Little offisive!!!"
    Would you try another book from James Franco and/or James Franco?

    I like most of James Franco's works, so yes I would try others.


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Franco again?

    I like his voice a lot so yes I would listen to his other books.


    Was Actors Anonymous worth the listening time?

    I liked this book for the most part. Some of the stories got offensive in some areas. I don't know if it was a personal opinion or just an observation, but some things where offensive as a female listener!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eden Shapiro AUSTIN, TEXAS, US 01-13-15
    Eden Shapiro AUSTIN, TEXAS, US 01-13-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Do not buy as an audiobook if you buy at all"

    As a huge James Franco fan, I was excited to listen to a book written and narrated by him. It's one thing to follow him on Instagram and love his movies, but to read one of his books was for me to get to know him more personally.

    First off, this book jumps from short story to short story, with no transition via audiobook to really know where one starts and another begins. Also many of the stories have so many "different" narrators and points of view and then with James also inserting himself into the "fictional" stories as well. Or that's what it sounded like via audiobook. Still not 100 percent certain.

    Although I do think the short stories were compelling, and I do feel that I know James on a deeper level, this book alludes to so many things that were above my head, and it really got way too confusing via audio to keep up on the stories which had 3+ different perspectives happening simultaneously.

    Honestly unless you are true true James Franco fan, I don't think you will enjoy this. And if you are a true fan, buy the hard copy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Carlsbad, CA, United States 02-19-14
    Robert Carlsbad, CA, United States 02-19-14 Member Since 2011

    Carlsbad Rob

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    "Confused and uneven"

    This book is a series of vignettes. I'd call them short stories but they don't have proper endings. Perhaps they come together at the end to provide a proper ending but I didn't get that far so I wouldn't know.

    The vignettes star different folk, but are all told in the first person. The narration is good but its the author and it sound like he's telling us stories of his life which makes for a bit of confusion when suddenly he's a girl and all.

    The first couple of stories flirt with edginess and then it turned into Gay porn. If the book was good I would have continued simply out of curiosity but it wasn't really good enough and started sounding like forced edginess at that point so I put it down (or deleted it).

    James Franco has potential as a writer, no doubt, but it wasn't for me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer abilene, TX, United States 01-24-14
    Amazon Customer abilene, TX, United States 01-24-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Whoa, Franco where you at?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I'm not 100% sure yet. It was very hard to follow & keep up with all the stories going on.


    If you’ve listened to books by James Franco before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first, and may be the last if any others are soo hard to follow.


    Have you listened to any of James Franco’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    His voice is great, and he is a good reader. He is good a verations in voice.


    Did Actors Anonymous inspire you to do anything?

    Re-listen to it, because i am sure i got lost along the way. I get his passion, I can feel it in his words. It has great quotes. However, it is how i imagine him to be in life, all over the damn place.


    Any additional comments?

    I love Franco he is funny, and a great Actor, his words are well written, but i think it may be easier to read the actual book, then to listen to it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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