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.