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Review: Be Frank With Me

March 29, 2016

Be Frank With Me

The elusive M. M. Banning (Mimi) is finally writing another book and has requested her publisher send her an assistant to “help her navigate computers and keep her household running.”  Alice is assigned the task and quickly learns that what the job entails is keeping track of Mimi’s nine year old son, Frank.  Frank is a quirky child and keeping up with him proves to be a challenge for Alice and Mimi’s crankiness doesn’t help matters.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson is getting lots of attention, and for good reason – it’s humorous and quaint and very entertaining.  I enjoyed it a great deal but don’t think I loved it as much as everyone else has.

Alice is sent by the publishing house she works for to help Mimi, a reclusive author, so Mimi can write her next highly anticipated book.  Her first book was written years ago and is a classic – in fact, it’s Alice’s mother’s favorite book.  Mimi seems to resent Alice’s presence but needs her to help out with her son, Frank.  I couldn’t quite figure Frank out – he’s obsessed with classic Hollywood movies and dresses and speaks like someone much older than his nine years.  He doesn’t like to be touched and struggles with changes.  He’s one of those kids who gets along better with adults than he does with his peers.  At times I thought he had Asperger’s but I was never quite sure since the story is told from Alice’s perspective.

I really liked Be Frank With Me as I read it but did have a few issues with it.  Alice had little experience with children and none with children like Frank, and Frank suffered in social situations, yet the two of them formed a strong bond very quickly.  I wasn’t sure what to make of Xander – a character who came in and out of their lives – either.  I was pulled into Frank’s story, though, so this was a fast read for me.  I think book clubs will enjoy this book, too, because of the fun characters and unique story line.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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28 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2016 6:13 am

    I thought it was best described as “quirky” :–)

  2. March 29, 2016 6:47 am

    It certainly is getting a lot of attention right now! I might try it on audio, although the sample track made me wonder if I could get used to Frank’s voice, which sounds very flat and monotone.

  3. Diane permalink
    March 29, 2016 8:23 am

    I want to try the audio of this one but, I have so many books going on right now I’m not sure when.

  4. March 29, 2016 8:38 am

    I can’t figure out the story or whether I would like it or not. On the fence with this one.

  5. March 29, 2016 8:54 am

    I’ll read it, probably. Someday.

  6. March 29, 2016 9:03 am

    I might give this one a try…maybe.

  7. March 29, 2016 9:33 am

    Hmmmmm I want to know more about this one.

  8. March 29, 2016 9:39 am

    This looks like another entertaining read that I will never get to! I’m waiting for the ones you rave about.

  9. March 29, 2016 9:59 am

    Interesting. I think I have this one, I will have to see how it goes 🙂

  10. March 29, 2016 10:48 am

    I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and wondered what it was about. I like books with quirky kid characters. I think I would enjoy this one.

  11. March 29, 2016 11:44 am

    I recently downloaded this book, since it has come with high praise from many…but I have a feeling that I won’t like Frank, as he seems irritating, spoiled, and a bit bratty…LOL. But with a mother like that, he probably earned those issues. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Patty permalink
    March 29, 2016 11:46 am

    I did love this book even though Alice and Frank were an odd match…but I still just plain loved it…when I taught Frank was the kind of kid that drew me into him.

  13. March 29, 2016 11:57 am

    My only issue was the abrupt ending.

  14. March 29, 2016 12:43 pm

    I agree – I enjoyed it, but it was just 3 stars for me. Frank’s dialogue was fantastic, though!

  15. March 29, 2016 1:14 pm

    I’m not sure if I want to read this or not. Sorry your didn’t like it more.

  16. March 29, 2016 5:52 pm

    I have been seeing this around and I am curious about it. I might give it a try at some point.

  17. bookingmama permalink
    March 29, 2016 6:07 pm

    I think your assessment is very fair. The book did get a little strange at the end to me, but I loved the relationship between Frank and Alice.

  18. March 29, 2016 6:24 pm

    I have been seeing this everywhere. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy it, though.

  19. March 29, 2016 6:57 pm

    I felt about the same as you about this one. An enjoyable quirky read. I think it would be just as good without Xander, and felt Frank & Alice’s relationship was the heart of the book.

  20. March 29, 2016 9:19 pm

    I just finished the book. I started out listening, but didn’t like Frank’s voice. I wonder if the author intended him to sound as he was narrated. I loved Alice and Frank. I have many questions and agree this would be a great book club read.

  21. March 29, 2016 9:41 pm

    I just read JoAnn’s review of this book and I think I’ve decided to try it as an audiobook. Your honest reviews are always so helpful

  22. March 29, 2016 10:39 pm

    very interesting! i’ve read several raving reviews of this one so I’m glad you pointed out a couple of flaws. It does sound like one I would enjoy though. I’ll also recommend it to my book club.

  23. March 30, 2016 11:37 am

    This sounds like a book I’ll love. I better get the audible with my credit!

  24. March 30, 2016 12:14 pm

    I apparecchiate your opinion on this book. I’ve been debating whether to read it or not. Now, after reading your review, I’ve decided to read it if the library has a copy. It doesn’t sound like one I want to spend money on. Thanks Kathy.

  25. Deepika Ramesh permalink
    March 30, 2016 2:28 pm

    This book has been crossing my path way too often these days. I should pick it up soon. 🙂

  26. March 30, 2016 5:59 pm

    This is in my list. I have been reading raving reviews of this one so it is nice to see a balanced one here.

  27. March 31, 2016 3:04 am

    Mmm. I’ve been hesitant about reading this one, and I’m still not sure. I feel that “adult kids” can be hit or miss with me, and your review makes me thing this one might be more miss than hit.

  28. March 31, 2016 9:27 am

    I’ve had this on my wish-list since it came out.

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