Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is James Franco Talented? Yeah, But So Is His Mom, Betsy

I just finished Betsy Franco's 1st adult novel, Naked.  I have one thing to say to Betsy right up front - please tell me that you will be writing more adult novels.  I loved this book. It's well-written, emotionally charged, and extremely clever.  I love a unique premise.  In fact, it reminds me of Stephen King's 11/22/63.  In that book, you have to accept the concept of time travel.  And then everything flows very plausibly from that point forward.

Naked is the same kind of thing.  Camille Claudel was a muse for Auguste Rodin from 1884 to 1900.  She was also his lover for a large portion of that time.  She actually lived to be 79 and died in 1943 embittered and lonely.  But what would happen if she came back today as an 18-year old in the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford campus?  And what would happen if she met a 19-year old boy who was taking a performance art class in summer school before starting college at Chapman in Southern California?  And what if he was studying Rodin and Claudel for his term paper?  The answers are...I'm not tellin'. But based on an unusual premise, the story unfolds in a very believable way.

There are some things I will tell you, without giving anything away:
1.  Sensous doesn't have to mean sexual.  (Do you remember when Tom Hanks takes Meg Ryan's hand at the end of Sleepless in Seattle?  Pretty sensual, don't you think?)
2.  I worried for much of the book that Camille (who gives herself the name Cat) would disappear the same way she appeared.  That's how caught up in the characters I was.
3.  At one point late in the book, I audibly said:  "Oh, no, no, no, no, no."  (Don't jump to any conclusions.  Do you think I would give up a big plot point?)
4.  I was in Paris a couple of years ago and visited the Rodin Museum.  It was cool to read a story about Rodin, but it does NOT make the book any more interesting to me than it will be to you.
5.  Just like King in 11/22/63, Betsy gets the ending right.

People, I really urge you all to read Naked.  I guarantee that you will like it.  Have I ever steered you wrong?


  1. This is James Franco's mom? She looks a little young.

  2. Pictures can be deceiving. She is 67 - even older than me!