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Be Frank with Me

On the front cover of this book is a sticker that says “Read it. Love it”, and that is exactly what I did. The front cover of the book also shows a picture of a very precocious little boy, named Frank, dressed in a dinner suit. We are told the story is about a legendary author, M. M. Banning, who needs to write a new book, and who also needs a general housekeeper and child minder to do so.

 We meet Alice, an assistant to a publisher, who has befriended her since her father died. He asks Alice if she will take on the role of housekeeper for Mimi, whilst she completes her book. Alice jumps at the chance of moving to Bel Air, and looks forward to meeting and working with the great author, and her son.

  Mimi Banning is plainly disagreeable to Alice and doesn’t want to talk to her at all. It is when she tells Frank to outline his “Rules” that Alice gets a glimpse of what life might be like with Frank. The first rule is, “Don’t touch me or my things”. When Alice accidentally lifts down his treasure, he becomes rigid on the floor.

 Now we realise there is much more to Frank than just an eccentric child. He is amazingly gifted and has a huge general knowledge base. He sleeps very little, entertaining himself very well. Alice has an enormous task ahead of her to remember the “Rules”, get Frank to go to school, and help Mimi to finish her book. Fortunately she is a level headed and practical young woman who develops a close bond with Frank.

 This story is entertaining as we watch the developing relationship and understanding that blossoms between Alice and Frank.  Learning about Frank’s thinking and irrational behaviour is quite informative and will resonate with people who know a gifted child.

 Mimi is a solitary person, who has quite a sad upbringing, and would be quite happy never writing again. Other characters that enter the story are interesting and help to add to the complexity of the tale

 This story also shows up the shortcomings of people, some teachers and nurses, who are obviously out of their depth with a child who is most definitely different, and intellectually superior.

AuthorJulia Claiborne Johnson
DistributorAllen & Unwin
ReleasedFebruary 2016