Author: Julia Claiborne Johnson
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: I loved the characters, but I felt as though we just paid a random visit to their lives, with a very abrupt beginning and ending.
When Alice is asked to help one-hit wonder author M.M. Banning while she attempts to write a new novel, she is surprised by how challenging the job is. M.M. Banning herself is generally mean and disapproving and certainly not willing to share her progress with Alice. Her son Frank is a delightfully quirky character, with a love of old movies and snazzy dress clothes. Alice finds him endearing and immediately wants to help make his life better, as his quirkiness and behavioral problems make him an outcast with children his own age.
I adored Frank’s character. I founds his quirkiness, his precocious linguistic abilities, encyclopedic knowledge, and social misunderstandings just as endearing as Alice did. I often wished I knew more about clothing so I could better appreciate the author’s descriptions of his suits and other clothing. I’m not sure how I feel about the author’s portrayal of Frank though. I’d guess he’s somewhere on the autism spectrum, but admit my knowledge on the topic is poor. The author did nothing to enlighten me. However, I did appreciate that Frank is clearly a lovable character and portrayed in a positive way, without the author glossing over the challenges he faces or those he causes his caretakers.
I was far less impressed with the plot than with the characters. Frank’s character really had to carry the story. The plot began and ended very abruptly and what happened in the middle felt very lowkey. I also felt as though I was briefly dropped into Frank’s life and then yanked back out again right along with Alice. I’m dissatisfied by not having any idea of how thing will go for Frank in the future.
As you can tell from my four star rating though, I thought Frank’s character successfully carried the story. I enjoyed getting to spend time with him and would love to see a sequel. Despite my problems with this book, I’d recommend picking it up, especially if you’re alright with ambiguous/abrupt endings.
For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.