Wow! What a wonderful story!
Mimi is an author who in her 20’s wrote a blockbuster novel, which over the past 30 years has remained a staple of American literature. Unfortunately she has turned into a recluse and has not written anything more. She now lives in Los Angeles with a 9 year-old (soon to be 10) boy, Frank, who has “special skills.” Mimi’s agent has been waiting for 30 years for her next novel and now she has started it because of need for income. Mr. Vargas, the agent, decides to send his assistant, Alice (24 years old), from their office in New York to Los Angeles to assist Mimi in every way possible to ensure there are minimal delays in the completion of the second book. Alice ends up being used by Mimi as a babysitter for Frank and a caregiver for both Frank and her, rather than using Alice’s computer skills. Mimi prefers the manual typewriter. The other major character is Xander, a man who floats in and out of the household who provides handyman skills and affection to and support for Frank. To provide more detail will diminish the experience of learning as Alice does about these people, which was the joy and pleasure for this reviewer.
The story spans an 8-month period and is presented by Alice in first person recounting her experience and adventures. The characters are well developed during her recounting each interaction, behavior, and speech. The author superbly presents the very unique personality of the characters, verbal and non-verbal communication, and social interactions in this story. The story flows easily with the reader developing the awareness of the individuals as Alice discovers them and has to make decisions about how to interact and to resolve issues. There are a number of surprises, which the reader discovers as Alice works through them. This novel was an absolute joy to read, and is one book that will be recommended strongly to others as well as kept on the shelf to be enjoyed again. For being the first novel of Ms. Johnson it is quite impressive. This reviewer is looking forward to her future efforts!
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