Book Review: My Lovely Frankie by Judith Clarke

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Title: My Lovely Frankie

Author: Judith Clarke

Rating: 2/5 stars

Release date: July 1st 2017

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Goodreads Synopsis: 

‘Frankie believed in Heaven quite literally, as if it was another lovely world out past the stars. And when he spoke the word “love”, it seemed to spring free and fly into the air like a beautiful balloon you wanted to run after. But I couldn’t tell my parents about Frankie, not properly. I told them I’d made friends with the boy in the room next to mine, and how he’d come from this little town out west. I couldn’t tell them how he was becoming the best thing in my world. I couldn’t tell anyone, I hardly admitted it to myself.’

In the 1950s, ‘entering’ the seminary was for ever, and young boys were gathered into the priesthood before they were old enough to know what they would lose. Tom went to St Finbar’s because he was looking for something more than the ordinary happiness of his home and school.

But then he discovered that being able to love another person was the most important thing of all. For Tom, loving Frankie made him part of the world. Even when Frankie was gone…

Review:

honestly, i have yet to come across an Oz YA that i personally like. all of them seem to only have this dull tone that just makes the stories super pretentious. the MC’s voice is poetic and depressing. we follow his childhood set in the 1950s. a big part of his life involves a a boy, frankie, whom we get to meet a little later in the book. this book had such a promising synopsis, yet what i read was nothing i’d expect it to be. lots of loose ends here and there, and it has religion involved in a very negative way. that trope always make me sick to the stomach for some reason. i hate that religion always has to be involved when it comes to sexual identities. i wish there are broader mediums for unmasking LGBTQ concepts. My Lovely Frankie exposes the fear and angst that comes from disclosing one’s sexual identity – and one that was was deemed unacceptable in the 1950s – in a gentle way. i find it hard to follow the juxtaposition between the tone and concept. i feel like the book would have had more impact on me if the writing was more direct and honest. it was confusing for the most part (mostly because of how lyrical the tone was, as if everything they talked about was a metaphor), and a bit frustrating, because i want to relate to the characters, i want to empathise with them and their struggles, but it’s really hard for me because most of the time i don’t even know what the heck is going on. also there were occasional anticlimactic scenes in the book that i thought were completely unnecessary and just dragged on and on. 

overall i’m pretty disappointed. the ending did not give me the closure i so badly hoped for either, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but given how unsatisfied i was throughout most parts of the book, i was hoping the ending could at least make up for how i felt. instead, i was left feeling confused, annoyed, and a bit sad, really. 

thank you Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

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