Be Frank With Me: A Novel

Paperback | February 2, 2016

byJulia Claiborne Johnson

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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 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.

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From the Publisher

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 Ai...

From the Jacket

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 Ai...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.76 inPublished:February 2, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062459066

ISBN - 13:9780062459060

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Customer Reviews of Be Frank With Me: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from I'm actually not sure how I feel about this book. Seriously. I was pretty disappointed on how the story ended. The beginning of the book got me really hooked, i just looooooove the little guy and all the mysterious aura around him and his mom. But the end was a big MEH...
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just Okay I expected more from this book. I picked it up after all the hype it got online and was disappointed by the end of it. I found that the story was too long, but that said, I really enjoyed the Frank character. - He was easily to best part of the book. I kept reading on to find out how he and his mother ended up.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable but nothing spectacular Overall, the book started off a bit slow in terms of engaging the reader but became more engrossing about halfway through the book. The book was surrounded by an air of mystery which added to the allure of the book, however, the reconciliation of these mysteries left me feeling dissatisfied and wanting more. I wasn't satisfied with the way the mysteries were revealed. The highlight of the book was definitely it’s characters. All the characters were well developed and lifelike. Frank presented as a precious (albeit frustrating) and endearing character but not enough to be the heart and soul of the book, as previous reviews would lead you to believe. Overall, this book was enjoyable but nothing spectacular.
Date published: 2016-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly Moving Assigned by her boss to take care of whatever needs to be done if a long-ago famous author is to complete her new novel, Alice finds herself confronted with more, often mysterious, circumstances than she anticipated. Most significantly, Mimi, the truculent author, has a young son named Frank. An eccentric genius with few social skills, one cannot be indifferent to Frank. He is either precious and endearing or difficult and obnoxious. "Be Frank With Me" is well-written, filled with mystery and romance, and incredibly moving. While Frank stole my heart, all of the characters are intriguing and lifelike. Unable to put it down, I read it in a single sitting.
Date published: 2016-02-08

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Editorial Reviews

“What a charmer this book is! From the very first page, I fell hard for Frank, an adorable oddball with an amazing brain, a wardrobe to die for, and a lonely fragility that pierced my heart again and again.”