• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 6, 2016)
A sparkling talent makes her fiction debut with this infectious novel that combines the charming pluck ofEloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly 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 Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.
As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s 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.
Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.
Frank is such a wonderfully different character and his mother Mimi, well she's the reason I found something that reminded me of Harper Lee when I started the book, albeit Mimi was a much younger writer. I guess it was something about the one great book that she wrote and then disappeared. Now that she lost her money in a scam she must write again. That's where Alice comes in. She's taking care of things so that Mimi can write.
The characters in this book are quirky but you will love them. I find it hard to review a book like this without giving so much of it away.
Can I just say, read it? Please read it?
It is truly a unique read. And if you don't love Frank...well there's something wrong with you.
Rating: 4 flowers
Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.
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