Author(s): Julia Claiborne Johnson
Meet Frank - a modern nine-year-old boy with the wit of Noel Coward and the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star. Meet Mimi Banning - reclusive literary legend and mother to Frank. Mimi has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, keeping her secrets, hiding from the world. Until Alice. Meet Alice - a level-headed young woman who finds herself thrust into the Banning household, charged with looking after Mimi's unusual son. Alice doesn't want mysteries, she doesn't want eccentricity and she certainly doesn't want a love-affair. But she finds all of them under the Banning roof. In so doing, she discovers a part of herself she never knew was missing. Full of heart and humour, 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.
The publisher of this book has put a sticker on the cover that says, "Take Our Word for it, Read it, Love it - Or your money back." I had a permanent smile on my face from start to finish. It is probably one of the loveliest stories I have read and I won't be asking for my money back (even if I had bought it at full retail price!). Frank is the 9-year-old son of Mimi Banning, a reclusive literary legend, but Frank isn't an ordinary child, he's a delightfully eccentric child genius with an IQ 99.7% above average, so he says. He has the wit of a Noel Coward and dresses like a 1930s movie star, which makes him a 'loner' at school, which he hates to attend and where he is teased, although he can't understand why. When Mimi Banning loses her fortune she is forced to write another novel and her publisher sends out Alice Whitley to look after Frank so that his mother can write another literary masterpiece. It is the interaction between Frank and Alice and other characters in the book that makes it such a delight to read. Read it, enjoy it - or your money back! - Peter
Spectrum SMH 13/2/16 and NH 13/2 'This book is entirely charming and funny but also very sharp and occasionally a little scary.
Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle magazine before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy writer husband, Chris Marcil, and their two children.