Be Frank With Me: A Novel

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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.

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About the author

Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.

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45 total

Additional Information

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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Humorous / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry “returns with this heartwarming story about a woman rediscovering herself after a personal crisis…fans of Backman will find another winner in these pages” (Publishers Weekly).

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

Funny and moving, sweet and inspiring, Britt-Marie Was Here celebrates the importance of community and connection in a world that can feel isolating.
Er kann tanzen wie Fred Astaire, er kleidet sich stets wie ein Gentleman, und er kokelt für sein Leben gern – Frank ist neun Jahre alt und anders als alle anderen ... Name: Julian Francis Banning, genannt Frank. Alter: 9 Jahre, fast 10. Besondere Kennzeichen: Ist klüger als 99,7 Prozent der Bevölkerung. Darf auf keinen Fall angefasst werden. Ist stets gekleidet wie ein Gentleman. Schläft nicht. Besondere Interessen: Filmklassiker, Hausdurchsuchungen. Bester Freund: ein ständig verschwundener Klavierlehrer. Frank Banning ist klüger als der Großteil der Menschheit und verfügt über ein enzyklopädisches Wissen. Dennoch hat er in der Schule so seine Probleme, und das Leben mit ihm ist kein Zuckerschlecken für seine Mutter Mimi. Die Bestsellerautorin schafft es seit Jahren nicht, ihr zweites Buch abzuliefern. Um sie zu unterstützen wird ihr die junge Alice geschickt, die schon bald ahnt, was das Problem ist: Frank. Denn der Junge ist anders als andere Kinder, und in seiner Welt ticken die Uhren anders. Während Alice sich noch fragt, wie eigentlich der adonishafte Klavierlehrer Xander ins Bild passt, überschlagen sich die Ereignisse – bis so einiges in Flammen aufgeht und jeder von ihnen seine Geheimnisse preisgeben muss. Die unglaublich komische und herzzerreißende einer ganz besonderen Familie. “Ein großer Spaß – lehnen Sie sich zurück und genießen Sie die Show.” New York Times Book Review „Johnsons Figuren sind so bezaubernd, durchgeknallt und wagemutig, dass man nach der letzten Seite gleich wieder von vorn anfangen müsste.“ Library Journal
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