Be Frank With Me: A Novel

Narrated by:
Tavia Gilbert

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
February 2016
8 hours 38 minutes
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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Joy S.

I enjoyed this book, both the story and the narration. The narrator did a fantastic job with Frank’s voice. She made him so real and you fell in love with him even as you understood how hard he could be to deal with, hated that so many adults didn’t understand or support him. He was so obviously “special” but found so little understanding from those who should have known better. As a teacher, I was appalled by the insensitivity of so many at his school. Part of an educator’s responsibility is to prevent bullying and show respect to all their student’s.

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Stephanie Mikos

This was great! I have very long commutes and go through books pretty fast and this one left me wanting for more and more. Tavia was so good at switching voices that many times I thought there were others with her. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and could absolutely relate to the story-line and characters. Thank you for filling much of my void!

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I enjoyed this immensely. I liked how the characters grew, and grew to love each other throughout the story. Alice accepted Frank and his unending quirkiness, but knew when to call him on it. I loved both of them and saw their relationship blossom. Xander ended up not being as fly by night at the end which made him more likable, too. Felt Mimi’s love for Frank through Julia’s words, and also her frustration. I also thought the narrator did well with the voices, especially Frank’s. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one!

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Joshua F

I loved this book. Great narration from Tavia Gilbert. She really did a nice job of giving the characters good spirit and tone.

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Ayako H

The narrator did a great job switching voices between different characters and made the book entertaining. The story itself was just fine.

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Sharon R

I fell in love with Frank!!! And the narrator was amazing! Thoroughly entertaining!

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Lori C

Totally believable and a reminder to be more aware and sensitive! I fell in love with Frank and Alice! Wonderful story! Thank you!!!

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John Rowcroft

The cover states that this book is "performed" by Tavia Gilbert and she does a superb job of bringing the intriguing, and sometimes irritating, characters to life. The plot is often very funny, maintains interest throughout, and is never trite. I shall definitely look out for another novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson, hopefully performed by Ms Gilbert. Highly recommended.

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Leila Kenzle

I loved this book. I didn't want it to end. I fell in love with the characters and the story. Delightful and charming is the whole thing

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