Hello :3! Today I'm reviewing Frankie's Angel: A Child's Tale of Loss and Recovery, a novella by Lisa Dekis.
Frankie’s Angel may be the first novella I’ve ever read (I don’t remember the last time I read one…), so please take that into consideration when you read my review :).
*I received a kindle copy in exchange for a BOLD review.*
What I liked:
The first half of the novella. It’s enticing, rich with imagery from the vantage point of Frankie.
The POV. Frankie’s Angel is written in 2nd person POV, which is somewhat rare in the fiction realm (most authors would choose either 3rd person or 1st, stream of consciousness excluded), and it adds considerable flavor to the prose and the characterization. It’s a perfect fit. I enjoyed the use of this POV because it was bold, and because it brought a feeling of camaraderie that nudged me to extend more empathy to the protagonist.
Frankie, or Franciska. I was fond of Frankie from the very first sentence, and her characterization was easily my favorite part of the novella. She’s a precocious child with an honest, meek, and solemn voice that is nonetheless entertaining. Lisa Dekis deftly captures the world of a seven-year-old with accuracy, and in doing so, she coaxes readers to empathize with her protagonist.
Hilarity. I laughed out loud several times at the ridiculous things Frankie would think of/picture/refer to.
Nostalgia! From tootsie roll pops and diary writing to PJ static electricity, Frankie brought me back to my own childhood.
Themes. Dekes doesn’t refrain from relaying cruel and depressing realities about death, parenting, religion/religiousity, life, friendship, and adults as she writes from Frankie’s perspective. The range of topics addressed in this pensive, artistic manner is commendable.
What could’ve been better:
The opening and tense usage throughout. The opening was a little confusing to me because some of the sentences didn’t make sense/took a bit of work to figure out, and there were several unexpected and awkward tense shifts in the dialogue tags (from present to past and back again) throughout the story.
Frankie’s guardian angel. I didn’t really understand or buy into the angel bit. Mind you, I do believe angels exist and that they serve God and minister to humans…and I was certainly surprised when the angel was revealed with the abrupt POV change about mid-way through the novella…But I found ‘it’ (?) to be confusing, not to mention biblically unsound. Are most people going to notice or care? Don’t know. I do know, however, that I noticed and I was bothered by this. I mean, sure, the angel can be sort of funny, but I can’t say I approve.
Also, the angel’s personality was downright annoying most of the time—like Phil from Hercules, but not as funny, and with a serious language problem. It seemed like more of an anti-hero, really, and I guess that’s what bothers me the most: the fact that it’s supposed to be an ANGEL and has not so much as an ounce of holiness. To me, that’s like a square circle. Logically impossible~! And somehow it’s also a spirit guide. So…New Age+Catholicism+Deism=??? (Post modernism? :-)
Now you understand why I was so confused (and upset). This is harsh, but I honestly feel that the book would’ve been better without the angel. Or--less harsh version--if the angel’s character/makeup wasn’t so contradictory.
Content. Occasionally, things get weird—as in, disturbing. I don’t think I’d recommend this novella to any of my friends or anyone younger than me because of a couple of short, shocking scenes. Are they realistic scenes/character actions? Yes, probably. Are they necessary? Well…let’s just say I’m currently leaning more towards ‘no’. I felt like these scenes were replaceable, and could be interchanged with something more appropriate *ahem* to communicate the same thing. Maybe. (I’m still recovering from shock o_o.)
Still, as I mentioned before, the book features many redeeming/poignant themes, and exposes realities that need to be addressed….like never talking about death with your children. Or the lie that being irresponsible and callous only affects you. (Adults can be so irresponsible and cruel—sometimes without even meaning to be.) Or that walking in a faith—or pretending to walk in a faith—because everyone else does even though you don’t really believe in it won’t heal the ache in your soul.
The ending. It was confusing to me; I had no idea what was happening, and I didn’t know why it was happening, either. It was also abrupt, and felt incomplete.
I enjoyed the first half of Frankie’s Angel (before the angel came into the story; after that, I honestly didn’t like it). To be fair, I don’t think the novella was for me. It’s not something that I would typically read—I prefer novels. Specifically YA sci-fi/fantasy novels. It’s a very quick read, however, which is nice. Also...I think this novella had the potential to become a novel if Dekis desired to lengthen it.
Although I wasn’t *captivated* by anything aside from the voice of Frankie and the imagery I saw through her, other readers—particularly frequent novella readers—might be, and it was fairly entertaining.
| Goodreads |
About the Author
Lisa Dekis (formerly Wasko) was born in 1960 in Trenton, NJ, where she enjoyed watching coal trucks deliver black rocks to basements, seeing the front door, letter flap open and the mail fall into the house, loved to watch the pizza man toss dough, and ran all the way to the corner store for penny candy. She still remembers the first time she lied to her mother, telling her she had to go to the bathroom instead of taking a nap - and contemplated pouring some Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo into the toilet to make it look like, well pee. A wild imagination ensued. As perhaps did analysis, As the fear of and overflowing toilet of bubbles hung over her. Rumor was that her paternal grandparents were rum-runners during prohibition - and hid their bottles in the caskets in their funeral parlor. True or not, she never met the suspected outlaws. And tragically in 1967, Lisa lost her flamboyant mother - a singer, writer, prank player, bowler, gorgeous mother of three. Attending Catholic school proved both a help and a hindrance to the healing process of grief. Stained glass windows were colorful, but not particularly cheery. A long childhood ensued. She graduated from Rider College in 1999, as well as Rosemont College in 2005 with an MS is English Literature. And although she can hardly add, she works in a finance department for a major pharmaceutical company. Frankie's Angel is her first self-published novella, as well as a long time coming, catharsis, where after writing - she is reminded of the compassionate women in her life, who embraced the "It takes a village" philosophy. She hopes that her novella, Frankie's Angel reaches children of all ages who have suffered a biting loss. And she hopes it can bring a modicum of comfort.