Be Frank With Me

 Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

I very much enjoyed reading this, even while wondering if it wasn't just a little far-fetched. I decided to ignore that voice and keep reading.

When New Yorker Alice, is sent to L.A. by her publisher boss, Mr. Vargas, to assist an author writing a long-awaited second book, she is warned that it's a "prickly" household. M.M. Banning, the author she'll be helping, will spend most of her time holed up in her office, leaving Alice to run the house and care for Banning's 9 year old son, Frank. 

Frank is what Mr. Vargas calls an "odd duck". He's highly intelligent, socially inept, an eccentric dresser, and will lay flat on the floor, stiff and uncommunicative, when overwhelmed by what's going on around him. He's quirky and endearing much of the time, but other times he's simply rude to people and not charming at all. Alice coped with it by indulging him much of the time, which I suppose was the easiest thing since she wouldn't be with him for very long. I wouldn't have had a clue how to relate to him. 

M.M. Banning, herself, is confusing. She seems to have two personalities - one with Alice and another with her son. While she's motherly, warm, and loving to Frank, to Alice she's cold and snarky, mean even. I couldn't figure her out, and eventually got so tired of her bad attitude I didn't want to. 

In spite of those negatives I liked the book. Frank is a fascinating character I came to care about and root for. There's another character, Xander, who has a brief romance with Alice but it's his beautiful bond with Frank that turns out to be one of the most affective parts of the story.

I gave this one four stars on Goodreads which was maybe half a star too much, but 3 didn't seem quite enough. 


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