Thursday, May 12, 2016

Be Frank With Me: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson

An entirely impulsive grab off the shelf that turned out to be a quirky, enjoyable read. Each character has their own set of flaws and eccentricities, that when put together in a glass house in the LA hills, somehow finds a way to work. The story is told from the point of view of Alice, who is sent to help reclusive author MM (Mimi) Banning finish her second novel (the first, published years ago, Mockingbird style). Alice's main task seems to be not involved in getting the manuscript ready to send off to her publisher boss, but riding herd on Mimi's eccentric, (there are several medical diagnoses that also spring to mind) son, and keeping the glass house and its occupants clean and fed. There's also a comfort of a sort to see how outlier personalities can work, and can provide support for each other, in a strong, loving relationship.  This is where I could compare the book to several others (the cover even echoes the color of one) but since I despise reviews that say something is like "When Harry Met Sally" meets "World War Z", I'll refrain. I will say that the book gives many moments to allow for strong visualization of characters, and also has some delightful recalls of movies from the golden days of Hollywood.

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