Saturday, May 14, 2016

Be Frank With Me; Julia Claiborne Johnson

Be Frank With Me; Julia Claiborne Frank
William Morrow - 2016

Mimi Banning is a reclusive Hollywood Hills author who has lost all her money in a ponzi scheme. As a result she is now feeling the pressure to finish another book by her deadline.  To help her meet this deadline the publishing house sends Mimi an assistant named Alice Whitley who was previously working at the Genius Bar at Apple.  Alice is unclear on what exactly her role will be but, she seems to fit Mimi's criteria: [No Ivy leaguers or English Majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, insane.]

When Alice arrives at the Banning mansion she is quickly introduced to Frank, Mimi's nine year old son.  Frank has a photographic memory and is quirky and set in his ways. He has nothing in common with the other fourth graders in his class.  He and Alice develop a unique relationship as Alice's job turns out to be as a full-time companion for Frank.

There is not a lot that happens in this story but, it's the relationship between Alice and Frank that makes this novel special.  The story is told by Alice and is dialogue driven.  

Frank is a terrific character, he loves to dress in top hats and cuff links and old fashion styled garb.  It's easy to see why he and most other nine year olds wouldn't have a lot in common. One can assume he has some autism related diagnosis but, we never learn exactly what that is.  

Julia and Frank will make you laugh and maybe even shed a tear as you get to know them.  Readers who like eccentric and lovable characters should give this novel a try.

4/5 stars
(review copy)

11 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed this... I did, too. The audio version is amazing!

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  2. I have this one on my Kindle...hope to read it soon! Thanks for sharing...

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  3. I haven't read many dialogue driven books. I think I'll check this out.

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  4. They really sound quite interesting!

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  5. I have been seeing this around. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  6. I always find good reviews when I visit your blog. I need to visit more often.

    http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com

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  7. Wasn't Frank fantastic?! He made that entire book!

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  8. I really liked this book. It just may end up on my favorite of 2016 list.

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  9. Frank's voice really made this one special for me. I loved this one, too!

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  10. Frank reminded me of the kid in that movie Little Man Tate.

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  11. I loved the audio version of this! I laughed out loud and was rather sad (almost weepy) when it came to final pages. Such an entertaining book and such a sweet little boy.

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