THE MIGHTY FRANKS: A MEMOIR (May 16th, 2017)
Even under the best circumstances, childhood is a tricky game of hopscotch from one challenge to the next. A misfit at home, bullied at school, where does a boy turn when, even as early as five, he relates more to the adults in his life than the kids populating the playground? In Michael’s case, he found refuge in the company of his beguiling Aunt Hankie, a larger-than-life Hollywood screenwriter with a flair for the theatrical. Aunt Hankie provided undivided love and attention and encouraged Michael’s precocious creativity and his blooming interest in the finer things, offering him the space to be who he couldn’t be outside the confines of her embrace. As the gravity with which she held the entire family in her orbit, began to shift in increasingly unpredictable, volatile ways, it became apparent to the rest of the family that the gift of her love was a Trojan Horse – much danger was hidden out of sight. And as Michael tries to move away from the deeply complicated, filial role Aunt Hankie spent years cultivating, the family reaches their breaking point and Michael must reconcile the aunt he once cherished more than anything with the now sinister, manipulative woman he realizes her to be.
Conjuring Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All and Andre Aciman’s Out of Egypt, with a hint of Grey Gardens, Michael Frank offers this simultaneously heartbreaking and compassionate portrait of a family buckling under the weight of one woman’s erratic and outsized personality. A coming-of-age memoir marked by the singularly strange relationship that would come to define Michael’s childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, THE MIGHTY FRANKS is a captivating debut about growing up and getting out from underneath a looming, ever-present shadow, and the ways in which our families shape us, for better or for worse.
Rights: FSG, World English; The Fourth Estate UK; Harper Collins, Canada; Lindhardt & Ringhof, Denmark