Review: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson


Category: Adult Fiction

Published: 2016

Read: 2016

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she’s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.
When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noël Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth graders.
As she gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who his father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.


Review: I loved this book from beginning to end and I think Frank is one of my favourite characters to come along in a very long time. He is curious, smart, full of fun facts and socially awkward.

Alice is also a great character, young but she knows it but is also full of wisdom in her young age. She spends the book trying to get Frank to like her. At first she isn’t sure about him but then get’s to know him and realizes how amazing he is. Mimi is a little harder to like. You understand her after you hear more about her life throughout the book but that doesn’t mean you will like her. I like how she is a writer who has only written one book and then comes back with having to write a new book. Feels like what has been happening recently with authors, ones who have only ever written one book but now have more coming out, or ones that have passed on and now have long-lost books being published. CharacterCard-Mimi

This is an easy read, it’s not heavy and you could finish it within a few days. People who like The Rosie Project will love this book. It’s a great, and funny contemporary read. CharacterCard-Alice

The people who might not like it will be people who don’t know or understand the olden days of Fred Astaire and suits. I am a huge fan of that era and so I knew everything Frank referred to throughout the story. If you don’t know anything about it, you might be lost…or not understand Frank at all.

I gave it such a high score because it was well written and I really did love Frank. I wanted to reach in the book and give him a big hug and tell him it would be all better.

This is a début novel for this author and a great one to start out with. I know I am going to look forward to more from her in the future.



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