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Be Frank With Me

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  14,171 Ratings  ·  2,457 Reviews
A sparkling talent makes her fiction debut with this infectious novel that combines the charming pluck of Eloise, 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 fallin
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2016 by Corvus
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Amy I absolutely loved this book. I'm still in love with the characters, the plot and the really snappy writing. Wish I could read it again for the first…moreI absolutely loved this book. I'm still in love with the characters, the plot and the really snappy writing. Wish I could read it again for the first time. (less)
Jeri Preston In my trade paperback version from William Morrow (2016), yes.
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Diane S ☔
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank is the definitive star of this story and seriously I can't remember the last time I have enjoyed a character more. Frank, is nine, going on forty in some ways, yet emotionally still a child. He is smarter that a ridiculous amount of the population and loves old movies and the dialogues of old movies of which he is expert at reciting. His style of dressing is wonderful, but very strange for a nine year old. Frank, is eccentric, he is different which means he has a hard time with his classma ...more
Joshilyn Jackson
There are very few writers who are writing exactly, exactly the books I want to read. The kinds of books Marisa de los Santos writes, or Tayari Jones, or Julianna Baggott, or Lydia Netzer. The kind of books I try very hard to write. You know---the ones that make you FEEL things and yet never get treacly or manipulate the weep or sell out for the TOO happy ending that I am too pragmatic and jaded to believe in. Books where the language matters A WHOLE LOT but the point of the sentence is never ju ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Kelly (and the Book Boar)
I almost had Kelly hunting me down for some stabby stabby.



Because I didn't really like this book. I wasn't impressed with the storyline or most of the characters.

But there is Frank.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“I love that kid,” he said. “Get in line.”



If you would have told me a book about a quirky nine year old kid would end up being one of the best things I’ve ever read, I probably would have assumed you were smoking some wacky tobacky. But then I met Frank.

Frank comes to us via way of Alice – an assistant at a publishing house who has been assigned the potentially daunting task of being live-in help while reclusive author M.M. Banning
...more
Margitte
To meet nine-year-old Frank, is to meet Sheldon Cooper, of The Big Bang Theory-fame, as a boy. Frank is 99.9% brighter than most people, captured in a sort of Asperger's mind, with a flat-toned voice and an absent sense of humor by circumstances, or, default. Reactions are best when programmed. Knock! Knock!, as a prerequisite to any joke, means he is suppose to laugh. Otherwise he doesn't get it. His best friends are characters in 1930 movies, which he emulate in his wardrobe, and a dictionary ...more
Julie
Be Frank with me by Julia Claibourne Johnson is a 2016 Willam Morrow publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

With the wealthy and secluded Bel Air as a backdrop, the relationship between a reclusive “one hit wonder” author and her delightful, but complicated son, Frank , sets the stage for this offbeat, put poignant story.

Think along the lines of Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger and you have M.M. Banning, or Mimi, to her close
...more
Marianne
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“’Frank will be okay, Alice,’ Mr. Vargas said. ‘He’s an odd duck, but brilliant children often are. It may take him a while, but someday he’ll figure out how to live in the world of ordinary mortals.’”

Be Frank With Me is the first novel by American author, Julia Claiborne Johnson. When reclusive author, M.M.Banning (aka Mimi Gillespie) contacts Isaac Vargas, her New York publisher, to ask for help with a new book, he is prepared to bend over backwards to assist. Years ago, her first (and only) b
...more
Amy
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good grief, this book was just adorable from start to finish. Frank is one one of the sweetest characters that is so perfectly formed that you just want to give this sweet little boy a hug when you get done with this book. I found myself giggling through some of Frank's antics and well up when he just couldn't fit in with his peers. I can't imagine the research that went into forming all of Frank's numerous thoughts about actors, movies, and all the fun facts that he had gathered over the years ...more
Jennifer
All the stars go to sweet, adorable, unconventional Frank.

The behavior, routines, fixations, hypersensitivity, and social processing of Frank's character all point to Aspergers or some form of high-functioning autism, although it is never actually spelled out in the novel. The absence of labels allows for showing versus telling during his character building which I loved. Through an adult's POV, we get to follow Frank around and for real fall in love with this little guy. It was interesting to
...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

What drew me to this book initially was the title. I loved all of the different meanings you could draw from it, the idea of a quirky boy ... and the cover is teal - a colour that I'm drawn to, what can I say.

Unfortunately the honeymoon ended there. Be Frank With Me had all the makings for a great read for me but then it didn't deliver and I struggled to get engaged with the plot and its characters. Sadly, I found myself skimming through some of the chapters in the second h
...more
Read In Colour
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Frank & everyone else in this book. It's like a mashup of what I imagine a Harper Lee-like author is like and Bernadette from Where'd You Go, Bernadette plus every other quirky character you've ever met in the body of a 10 year old child & his mother. I'm going to need this optioned into a movie ASAPtually.
Bam
M. M. "Mimi" Banning has published only one book in her lifetime but it was a tremendous success and made her wealthy and famous. Now, after having been cheated by an unscrupulous investment counselor, she needs to write a second book to support herself and her nine-year-old son, Frank. Her publisher, Isaac Vargas, sends his employee, Alice Whitley, to LA to help out--cook meals, clean and keep watch over Frank so that Mimi can lock herself away to write. Of course, he also wants Alice to keep a ...more
DeB MaRtEnS
On the surface, Be Frank with Me greets us as a fairly light, quirky novel about the reclusive authoress Mimi Banning, her eccentric nine year old son Frank, their elusive handyman and piano teacher Xander, and Alice. She is employed to edit Mimi's new book, provide support as a general "Girl Friday" and attend to Frank. Alice is the steady narrator, the "sane" individual requested by Mimi for what proves to be an adventurous and unusually challenging period with this motley crew of characters w ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm just going to start this post off by saying that Julia Claiborne Johnson's debut novel, Be Frank With Me, is going to be one of my favourite reads of 2016.

Mimi Banning wrote one book twenty years ago - a brilliant book that brought her wealth and fame. But Mimi is a recluse. And now she's a broke recluse, having fallen victim to a Ponzi scheme. So, she needs to write a new novel. You see, it's not just Mimi - she has a nine year old son named Frank to support. She needs someone to watc
...more
Tania
’Frank will be okay, Alice,’ Mr. Vargas said. ‘He’s an odd duck, but brilliant children often are. It may take him a while, but someday he’ll figure out how to live in the world of ordinary mortals.’

3.5 stars. A beautiful, heartwarming story, but I have to agree with a lot of people that the real substance in Be Frank with Me lies in the characters. Frank, being at the center of the story, is quirky, amazingly intelligent and endearing, but the author also shows us the downside of being one in a
...more
Theresa
"Be Frank with Me" by Julia Claiborne Johnson left a lot to be desired. I had a high hopes for this novel and I enjoyed the first 100 pages, but the story and premise quickly went off in a direction that didn't make a lot of sense to me. And I wasn't crazy about the writing. Very choppy. The protagonist, Alice, was quite boring. Frank was too eccentric, and don't believe a little boy would talk in such a grown-up way, eccentric or not. It just felt false and patronizing. Frank's emotionally aloo ...more
Deborah
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh god… where to start?! I loved everything about this book but it’s the characters which set it apart from anything else I’ve read recently.

MM Banning (Mimi) reeks of Harper Lee – an enigma, famous for her one and only award-winning book written decades ago. Interestingly she’s probably the character we get to know least in this story. She’s aloof, prickly and unpredictable. Readers will occasionally question her mothering skills but there’s no doubt she loves her son. Desperately.

Alice is lik
...more
debra
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4*s with many 5* Frank moments!
Kelly(and the Book Boar) made a prefect comment, "I don't promise the story is great, but I dare anyone not to be smitten with Frank." It was "interesting to meet the other characters, but Frank stole the show"( Jennifer). I totally agree with Diane, who described the book as "delightful,funny, poignant, and heartbreaking" I listened to the audio version and I really enjoyed it. As Joyce said-"The narrator wonderfully portrays Frank and his shotgun monotone."
Pl
...more
Alexw
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out Loud dialogue and one can only wish t be at the dinner table when the author and her comedic husband discuss the days events. Frank is one of the most original characters that I have read in along time-5 enthusiastic stars !!
Rebecca Foster
Alice, a young publishing assistant, is sent from New York City to Los Angeles to encourage one-hit wonder and Harper Lee type M.M. Banning (aka Mimi Gillespie) to produce her long-delayed second novel. But when she arrives she discovers her most pressing duty is keeping an eye on Mimi’s oddball son, nine-year-old Frank. I doubt you’ve ever met a character quite like Frank. (I appreciated how, although he is clearly on what would be termed the autistic spectrum, Johnson avoids naming his conditi ...more
Erin
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo
First, there is nothing wrong with the writing of this story. This is actually a fairly solid debut novel. I am significantly below the average rating But (and I might as well be screaming), every. character. drove. me. crazy. I FORCED myself to finish the story in the hopes that it would get better. I am left feeling fairly "blah" about the whole thing.
Amber
This book is an easy read and mostly lighthearted with an interesting cast of characters. I think it would be a good read especially when you need a break from all the heavy and dark emotional books we sometimes string together. This is contemporary fiction that is staged around an author needing to write a book and an editor's assistant that goes to stay with said author to make sure she has no distractions while writing the book. The assistant takes care of the author's child, among other thin ...more
Whispering Stories
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.

Be Frank With Me is told through the eyes of Alice, a young twenty-something sent to help out at the home of M. M. Branning (Mimi) whilst she knuckles down and writes a sequel to her one hit wonder novel. However, it isn’t just boring house cleaning and upkeep – Alice also has to look after Mimi’s eccentric son, Frank, who is the real
...more
John
Thanks in advance for bearing with me here, as this book is quite difficult to review without spoilers. Also, I dislike re-hashing plots, so I'm assuming my readers have read the Goodreads blurb first for that.

I've read a review where Alice is described as an empty, cardboard figure; I can't go along with that at all, as I found her easy to identify with, although I saw her as a bit older than 24. Mimi, the one-hit wonder writer (Harper Lee figure), I found generally difficult to take as she was
...more
Linda
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars! The writing in this book was great. The novel’s written in first person from Alice’s point of view I enjoyed this book. Frank is my favorite character, but I wish that he had been part of the narrative also. It would have been fascinating to have a glimpse into his thought patterns. Some insight about Frank, his character is a fascinating, enduring character. He is eccentric, he's different, the way he speaks and quotes movies, his encyclopedic knowledge of the film industry and his m ...more
Sonja Arlow
3 1/2 stars

I have read a fair amount of books that deal with socially inept characters that border on, or has full blown Aspergers so this book fits into the same category as The Rosie Project and 600 Hours of Edward.

This book has also been favourably compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time however I don’t completely agree with this comparison.

The story is told from the perspective of Alice, a publisher’s assistant who comes to aid a hugely successful but reclusive literary
...more
Cindy Burnett
3.5 stars

Be Frank with Me is a sweet story that I am glad I read. Frank is a sweet, quirky, brilliant boy who will grow up and change the world. Sadly, society does not always value these children when they are young and out of step with the rest of their generation. He struggles with the social aspects of school and has been asked to leave many schools due to his inability to fit in. His mother Mimi, an author with one great book, has been swindled out of their entire savings and must write ano
...more
Dora Santos Marques
A minha opinião em vídeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiucK...

Este vai ficar certamente, na lista dos preferidos do ano!
Mel
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As has been noted by almost every professional review -- yes, this is a bit derivative of the Salinger effect, and also a bit improbable, a little anachronistic in more ways than just the wardrobe choices, but Be Frank With Me has no comparisons when it comes to originality (the closest might be Where'd You Go, Bernadette), and we all need to read a little sweetness at times. It's clever in a fresh way, laugh-out-loud funny in a smart benevolent way, and at the same time there is something rem ...more
Carolyn
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took me a little while to warm to Frank, the central character in this story. He is a very unusual nine year old child, extremely intelligent and a little on the autistic spectrum, although that is never stated. He doesn't like to be touched or to have his possessions touched. He's liable to melt downs where he'll either bang his head against a wall or lie on the ground like a plank. A big fan of movies, his head is full of facts about actors, locations, directors and scripts. He likes to dres ...more
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“Youth isn't wasted on the young, literature is.” 9 likes
“With children in the house, you’re on call around the clock whether you like it or not. You don’t get the luxury of enough sleep when that was what you needed most to keep yourself from going over the edge.” 2 likes
More quotes…