Traveling Book Group – Be Frank with Me

The Traveling Book Group is meeting Thursday, November 1 at 7:00. The group is discussing Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Copies of this book are available at the library. All are welcome to join the discussion.

From Library Journal: /* Starred Review */ M.M. Banning, a reclusive one-mega-hit novelist now in her 50s and living in Bel Air, CA, with her nine-year-old-son, Frank, is in trouble. Brought to the brink of bankruptcy by a Madoff-like investment adviser, Banning is up against a deadline to finish her long-awaited second novel. She was 19 when she was skyrocketed to fame by the success of her first book.

Banning needs an assistant to manage both her household and Frank, an eccentric genius who is a walking sartorial delight (inspired mostly by 1930s movies) as well as a whirling dervish with perilous tendencies. Banning’s New York publisher sends his assistant Alice Whitley to the rescue. Alice’s gifts for managing Banning’s acerbically rigid demands and Frank’s enormous behavioral challenges are beautifully inspired by her lovely heart.

VERDICT Johnson’s magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Readers will race to the next sentence. And the next. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author’s second work. [See Prepub Alert, 8/17/15.]— Beth Andersen, formerly with  Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI –Beth Andersen (Reviewed December 1, 2015) (Library Journal, vol 140, issue 20, p93)