Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Be Frank With Me
Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she’s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. 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 Noël Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth graders.

As she gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who his 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 heartwarming story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.
I was super pleased to find that this debut novel lived up to the promises of being similar in writing style to both The Rose Project and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?  I thoroughly enjoyed both of those, and I was excited to try this one after seeing the comparisons.  It didn't let me down either - there's tons to love in the quirky and unique characters, and I loved seeing the way they changed and grew over the course of the book.  I had a particularly soft spot for Mimi, who seems hard to please, but has a soft side when it comes to her son.

Entertainment Value
I think this one definitely works in the feel good fiction category.  I read a blurb from Joshilyn Jackson, another author whose work I'd compare it to, and whole heartedly agree that this is just a book that makes you smile.  It's fun to read, hard to put down, and has characters that are delightful and believable and fun to spend time with.

If you're fans of women's fiction, you enjoyed the quirky characters of The Rose Project, or you enjoy writers like Joshilyn Jackson or Elizabeth Berg or even Jojo Moyes, this is going to be one you'll enjoy.

Thanks to TLC for providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see a list of all the stops on the tour!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  2. I really loved The Rosie Project, so I'm going to try this one out!