The Mighty Franks
A psychologically acute memoir about an unusual and eccentric Hollywood family.My feeling for Mike is something out of the ordinary, Michael Frank overhears his aunt say to his mother when he is a boy. I wish he were mine.Michael's childless Auntie Hankie and Uncle Irving, glamorous Hollywood screenwriters, are doubly his aunt and uncle brother and sister married sister and brother. The two families live just blocks away from each other in Laurel Canyon. In this strangely intertwined family, even the author's two grandmothers share an apartment together.Talented, sparkling, and lavish with her money, attention, and love, Auntie Hankie takes charge of Michael's education, showing him which books to read, which painters to admire, which houses to like, which people to adore. She literally trains his eye until that eye wants to see on its own.As his aunt's moods begin to darken, it becomes apparent that beneath her magical exterior there lies a dangerous rage. His aunt stages a series of tumultuous scenes that devastate Michael, forcing him to reconstruct both himself and his family narrative as he tries to reconcile the woman he once cherished with the troubled figure he discovers her to be.The Mighty Franks is a psychologically acute memoir that asks each of us where the boundaries of family life should be drawn, and who should draw them.

The Mighty Franks Details

TitleThe Mighty Franks
Author
Formatebook
ReleaseMay 16th, 2017
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN0374715963
ISBN-139780374715960
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Family, Biography

The Mighty Franks Review

  • Daniel Schmeder
    February 20, 2017
    How do I know when my banana cupcake is THAT delicious or a drinks party is THAT entertaining or a new book is THAT enjoyable?..... I ration it, yep I savor and ration, that's also how I knew I was enjoying "The Mighty Franks" because I rationed it. Just because Michael Frank interprets family life as extreme sports does NOT mean it's all blustery Agustin Burroughs empty calories. These are 1970s Laurel Canyon memories gently held hostage and displayed by one the most objective memoirists since How do I know when my banana cupcake is THAT delicious or a drinks party is THAT entertaining or a new book is THAT enjoyable?..... I ration it, yep I savor and ration, that's also how I knew I was enjoying "The Mighty Franks" because I rationed it. Just because Michael Frank interprets family life as extreme sports does NOT mean it's all blustery Agustin Burroughs empty calories. These are 1970s Laurel Canyon memories gently held hostage and displayed by one the most objective memoirists since Katherine Graham. The Mighty Franks is subtle and exciting at the same time. Only someone who is certain of what they are doing can achieve such thrilling balance. This antihero, a gloriously malignant Auntie Mame is no cookie cutter villain. Her brand of Narcissism is alluring, sexy and feral. She makes Trump look like a rank amateur. And unlike Trump you crave every page she appears on. The Mighty Franks, right outta the gate, is engaging, powerful and redemptive for anyone who was one of ... "those who's names were never called when choosing sides for basketball"Y'all can thank me later for the recommendation D
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  • Jill Meyer
    May 18, 2017
    In a memoir, the author's most personal thoughts and recollections are on offer and the result can be very difficult to read. This seems true with Michael Frank's "The Mighty Franks: A Memoir". But what is difficult to read must have been excruciating to actually live through. Frank grew up in Los Angeles in a family so marked by the malevolence of one family member, his aunt Harriet Frank, Jr, whose lifetime of narcissistic behavior terrorised the family for sixty years. Michael Frank doesn't u In a memoir, the author's most personal thoughts and recollections are on offer and the result can be very difficult to read. This seems true with Michael Frank's "The Mighty Franks: A Memoir". But what is difficult to read must have been excruciating to actually live through. Frank grew up in Los Angeles in a family so marked by the malevolence of one family member, his aunt Harriet Frank, Jr, whose lifetime of narcissistic behavior terrorised the family for sixty years. Michael Frank doesn't use the word "narcissist" to describe his aunt, but her behavior mimics the narcisstic behavior of several people I know. If you read the book, you may use a different term to describe "Hanky", depending on your experience with such a malevolent person.Michael Frank's aunt and uncle are real people, who have Wikipedia entries. His uncle, Irving Ravetch, and his aunt, Harriet Frank, Jr,(known as "Hanky") were noted screenwriters in the 1950's to 1980's. They worked primarily with director Martin Ritt. (You should read their Wiki entries before reading the book.) Michael was their nephew - a double nephew, at that, because his mother was Irving Ravetch's sister and his father was Harriet Frank's brother. A cozy combination which made for a cozy family unit, whose members lived a few blocks from each other in the Hollywood hills. To make matters even cozier, the two grandmothers shared an apartment after their respective husbands died. Both couples lived in and out of the other's homes, and the Frank's three sons were thought of a surrogate sons for Irving and Hanky, who had no children. However, the Ravetch's, particularly Hanky, seemed to prefer young Michael to his brothers, and, indeed, to anyone other than her husband. She was the "Auntie Mame" to his Patrick and showered him with gifts and attention. But the attention was that of his place in Hanky's world. She was the sun, he was planet circling. He finally rebelled in his late teens but by then Hanky's malevolence to him and the rest of the family continued unabated.Michael Frank's memoir begins when he was a child and continued up through Irving's death in 2010 and to Hanky's continued existence. He spares little of the "true" Hanky Ravetch and her wretched influence in his book. It's a fascinating book, as memoirs often are.
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  • Jo Anne
    May 15, 2017
    This is an incredible ride through one man's 70's childhood, growing up in an unusual, and unusually sparkly, LA family with Hollywood ties. It's a compelling story about the courage it takes to grow up, and about the complexities of family love and loyalty. I couldn't put it down!
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  • Susan
    May 15, 2017
    I mistakenly thought this book was about Michael Frank but really it was about his aunt, Harriet Frank Revetch. She was involved in the movie industry, though I had not heard of her prior to this book. However, the book isn’t about hob-knobbing with the rich and famous. The book chronicles Hankie’s difficult relationships with her family members and friends. She was extremely magnanimous and loving when it served her purposes and then would place heavy burdens on the people around her using her I mistakenly thought this book was about Michael Frank but really it was about his aunt, Harriet Frank Revetch. She was involved in the movie industry, though I had not heard of her prior to this book. However, the book isn’t about hob-knobbing with the rich and famous. The book chronicles Hankie’s difficult relationships with her family members and friends. She was extremely magnanimous and loving when it served her purposes and then would place heavy burdens on the people around her using her previous benevolence as leverage. It was very hard to read how the people around her let her harm them over and over again without protecting themselves or each other. Many times I wondered why Mr. Franks was willing to share this dark side of his childhood with us. I know writing out what happened was probably extremely cathartic for him but he was very brave to let the world know that life wasn’t always so beautiful for Hollywood’s beautiful families. A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kristine
    May 12, 2017
    The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early May.Aunt Harriet/Hankie/Tantie feels intense motherly love for the author, Mike, and showers him with outings, gifts, and quality time on their shared interests of design, movies, reading, drama, and fashion. Their extended family all lives in Laurel Canyon and their eccentricities garner Mike some teasing from his same-age peers. The book speaks of all of this, as well as dysfunctional travels throughout Europe, a The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early May.Aunt Harriet/Hankie/Tantie feels intense motherly love for the author, Mike, and showers him with outings, gifts, and quality time on their shared interests of design, movies, reading, drama, and fashion. Their extended family all lives in Laurel Canyon and their eccentricities garner Mike some teasing from his same-age peers. The book speaks of all of this, as well as dysfunctional travels throughout Europe, and the aftermaths of each family member.
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  • Marissa
    May 18, 2017
    Goodreads Uncorrected Copy WinThis is a memoir of a childhood where things are less than perfect growing up in the 70’s. The unsettling relationship of an aunt and uncle who dote over their nephew as their own and the unhealthy demands they put on him as he grows up. The secrets hidden and the bonds of family dynamics are played out.We watch as things start to unravel as his aunt demands become more unrealistic as he tries to take control. A story about family and how they can cause destruction. Goodreads Uncorrected Copy WinThis is a memoir of a childhood where things are less than perfect growing up in the 70’s. The unsettling relationship of an aunt and uncle who dote over their nephew as their own and the unhealthy demands they put on him as he grows up. The secrets hidden and the bonds of family dynamics are played out.We watch as things start to unravel as his aunt demands become more unrealistic as he tries to take control. A story about family and how they can cause destruction. An interesting memoir to read.
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  • Sharon
    May 28, 2017
    I received a copy of the book from the Goodreads program. This is an interesting memoir of a man's childhood, growing up in a home with his aunt. She is doting, overproduction and eccentric to say the least. As a young boy, his life is great. As time passes and he grows up, life turn dark, as his aunt and her mind begin to change for the worse. An interesting read!
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  • Daisy
    May 25, 2017
    I wish there were photographs. And maybe a family tree.
  • Gail O'Connor
    April 8, 2017
    The book just didn't grab me. I need a book to immediately pull me in. This didn't at all.
  • Kira Wizner
    April 29, 2017
    This was the most entertaining and interesting memoir I've read in ages. We have permission to relax while we read-- the book has been published, so you know the author has made it through childhood and the tangled family. How he gets there, with the layers along the way are a lesson in the power of family, borderline personality disorder, and ultimately self confidence and love. A tapestry collides with a large scale oil painting-- and this book is born.
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  • Deb
    April 12, 2017
    Mighty Franks is a story about the Frank family who lived in California. It is an intertwined family – brother and sister married sister and brother. Plus their mothers share an apartment together, Huffy (mother of Hank and Martoon) Frank and Sylvia (mother of Merona and Irving) Ravetch. Merona. Irving had a very close relationship when they were young and then Irving got married…. The older couple, Henrietta “Hank” and Irving Frank, is well-known playwrights and have no children. The younger co Mighty Franks is a story about the Frank family who lived in California. It is an intertwined family – brother and sister married sister and brother. Plus their mothers share an apartment together, Huffy (mother of Hank and Martoon) Frank and Sylvia (mother of Merona and Irving) Ravetch. Merona. Irving had a very close relationship when they were young and then Irving got married…. The older couple, Henrietta “Hank” and Irving Frank, is well-known playwrights and have no children. The younger couple, Martoon and Merona, has three children. The book is written from the oldest son’s perspective, Michael. The two families initially live within three blocks of each other in Laurel Canyon. Aunt Hank favored Michael, the oldest of the three children. “My aunt was the sun and I was her planet, held in devotional orbit by forces that felt larger than I was…” This favoritism causes problems within the family. Hank spends much time with Michael; she actually demands the time. This is not all well received from Michael. It causes physical issues for him. When Hank called, Michael was expected to run right over. When he made any excuse as to why he was unable to come for an hour or at all that day, “the goodbye would be swift and the phone would hit the cradle with a bang.”At one point Michael is instructed to refuse to go with Hank or Irving unless his younger brothers are invited. This results in a “punishment” because Michael is unable to comply. The “Bergman Temper” was constantly simmering between the two houses. When Hank and Irving weren’t working on a script, their house underwent frequent changes. Based on the book, Hank was a very demanding, judgmental, inflexible, and critical person. The book raises numerous points illustrating these traits. “She beguiled and she eviscerated; she gave generously and she took arrogantly; she celebrated and she excoriated; she was an angel, a devil; she was a mystery and a burden, everlasting.” Michael also experienced bullying at school and made a great attempt to hide it. By the end of the book, the reader has learned much about the Frank family and finds little reason to care for Hank. The book seems to be mostly about how rotten of a person Hank is and the challenges of living in the Frank Family.
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