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Be Frank with Me Paperback – 3 Aug 2017
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Sit back...and enjoy the show. New York Times Book Review Hilarious, poignant and full of unexpected gems. Huffington Post Delightful. You will laugh out loud. Slate Johnson's magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Readers will race to the next sentence. And the next. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author's second work. Library Journal, starred review Readers will find themselves captivated. People Magazine Witty dialogue, irresistible characters, and a touch of mystery make this sweet debut about a quirky Hollywood family an enjoyable page-turner. Booklist Johnson's magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading. Library Journal The curious incident of where'd you go, Salinger. Kirkus Reviews
A funny, poignant and unforgettable novel about Frank - one of the most lovable and unusual characters you'll ever meetSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The description of Frank, a nine-year old boy with “the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star” was enough enticement for me to dive into this book. Sadly, it was not enough of engage me for long....
Frank is Quirky, a boy with a Difference; he has an encyclopaedic mind, but where does he learn all this stuff when he doesn't go on the internet, or visit the local library? He is also a film buff, especially old films, reciting word perfect dialogue and plot to a bemused Alice. He's probably somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but this isn't confirmed or otherwise. No-one is allowed to touch Frank or Frank's Stuff. Mimi and Alice don't hit it off, but it's unclear why, and Alice's romantic interlude is out of place.
Unfortunately the novel never really develops into anything as it trundles along on a straight line. Yes, Frank is charming, amusing at times, but more often than not, precocious. Alice is just plain boring, and Mimi hides herself away most of the time; whenever she does appear is implausibly eccentric. Who is Frank's father? Do we really care, is it important? Does Mimi complete her novel? I don't know, neither do I care.
I really did want to like this book, unfortunately it's now on the Reject Stack never to be read again. The one thing I do like is the ambiguity of the title. I can't say I didn't like it, but for me it's only just okay, hence the rating.
Mimi Manning is a reclusive writer, with a massive bestseller under her belt but has now been given the task of writing another. Herself and Frank have been hidden behind the glass walls off their LA home for years and neither are keen to have a young woman move in with them as the new book is written. Alice struggles to learn their quirkiness and each day brings new challenges. It is not long before she sees Frank's compulsive behaviours for what they are... He is a child who lives in the past. He dresses like a dapper 1950s movie star, accessorizes each outfit with a button hole or cravat, has an array of catch phrases and knows the best places in LA to shop for his vast, eclectic wardrobe. He may not be great with human interaction, but he is utterly charming in his eccentricity.
Alice is charged with watching Frank as Mimi holes herself in her bedroom to write the next great novel. Left to their own devices, there are plenty of hit-and-miss moments between the two. Frank doesn't like to be touched and Alice learns this the hard way. He is also not keen on having his 'stuff' touched, which makes things a bit difficult. However, after some initial teething problems, the unlikely duo settle into a routine.Read more ›
Mimi's first book became a modern classic, but she never published anything after that and decades later her publisher sends Alice to move things along when it becomes apparent that Mimi is writing again. What Alice unwittingly becomes is a focus for Mimi's distrust of outsiders and do-gooders (not helped by Alice's oft naive Pollyanna tendencies) and a surrogate Mother, sister, friend and confidant to Frank, Mimi's 9 year old son.
Frank is delightful, charming and heartbreaking in equal measure because, and in spite of, his exceptional intelligence, eccentricities and obsession with 1930's Hollywood films and sartorial precision. Think Noel Coward meets Fred Astaire with a pinch of Stewie Griffin from the Family Guy (but without the violent, matricidal and evil streak). Essentially Frank is different and stands apart, his condition (if there is one) is never defined although he appears to reside somewhere on the autistic spectrum. What is obvious is that he has a clear, straightforward and very literal view of life. He can't cope with nuances, humour, sarcasm or being touched and he has to be in control of his world as much as possible.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heartwarmingly funny with lovely characters. I couldn't put it down, a really lovely story. Looking forward to reading more from this very talented writer, and hopefully a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Miss Lisa Welford
Be Frank With Me immediately stood out with its bright teal cover and simple artwork – I enjoyed the aesthetic and it fits perfectly with the persona of Frank, too. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Whispering Stories Book Blog
Stories which revolve around children don't often intrigue me but when I read the description of a young boy with the wardrobe of a deco era movie star I was waiting for something... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Blooming Fiction
I found it hard to decide which is this book’s best feature and, I suppose, it comes down to whether you favour children most or books. Read morePublished 10 months ago by G. Wake
Frank is not your average 9 year old. He has a very specific idea of style and loves the golden age of Hollywood. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Care Bear
Be Frank With Me written by Julia Clairborne Johnson for me was a unique read as the main character was like no modern day character I have ever read about. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Petra
Mimi Banning is a reclusive writer who had one massive success as a young woman, and has published nothing since. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bee