Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Published by HarperAudio, William Morrow
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Buy the book! | Goodreads
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.
It’s not often I read character driven adult fiction but I’ve been lucky to have really enjoyed the ones I’ve read. Be Frank With Me was one of those.
Julia Claiborne Johnson gives us such a unique cast of characters in Alice, Mimi, Xander, and of course, Frank. There were times when I didn’t really understand how Alice didn’t run away from the odd job she’d been assigned as babysitter essentially. But then more we get to know Frank, and the more we learn to deal with his and Mimi’s eccentricities, the more we grow to love him.
The book really kept me guessing on a few things throughout the story, from who Frank’s father was, to what Xander’s story and role were, to what in the world did Mimi type all day long! All the answers revealed at the end gave me such relief.
I loved just how humorous and at time outrages this story is. Tavia Gilbert, the narrator of this audiobook, delivered such an entertaining depiction of these characters. I especially loved her Frank delivery. There were lines of his dialogue that didn’t seem to leave room for her to take a breath in between words, and she delivered them spot on.
If you’re looking for an audiobook to keep you entertained definitely look into Be Frank With Me. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out this interview with Julia Claiborne Johnson (the author), and voice actress Tavia Gilbert (the audiobook narrator)!