4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Father Francis Gold, who calls himself Frank, is a young, Catholic priest from England. He’s headed to his first parish in the United States, a church named for none other than Saint Francis of Assisi. However, it soon becomes apparent that Frank’s seminary training hasn’t trained him for everything he’ll face as a priest in Can I Be Frank?, a novel by author Rob Wyatt.
The business and politics of the church entail more than Frank anticipated. Likewise, though he’s taken a vow of chastity, he’s not fully prepared to deal with flirtatious women, both outside and inside of the church walls. Moreover, after a run-in with a wealthy, domineering parishioner, Frank is not only in danger of losing his congregation, but he stumbles upon a hazardous, illegal operation. If Frank exposes the criminal activity at hand, it could turn the entire town on its head.
Now, a basic element of humor is its delivery of the unexpected. In this novel, the author presents unexpected situations in abundance. He doesn’t do so by way of thrills but in ordinary circumstances gone awry, related by a protagonist who’s never dull. Not only is there humor in Frank’s incidents and mishaps, but his narration itself is amusing. At times he’s blunt, and other times he dances around his meaning, allowing the reader to easily interpret the dance. Now and then, Frank even interrupts himself with his narration, interacting with his own story.
As funny as this tale is, however, it’s also substantive. Frank’s entrance into the priesthood is a practical career decision, more or less, and he simply wishes to help people. Yet, the process for helping people turns out not to be so simple. While the entire story is entertaining, the humor eases up somewhat as Frank’s situation becomes more complicated. He’s “plain old Frank,” but “Father Francis” expectations weigh on his shoulders. He faces issues as minor as his confusion between British and American English, and as major as the poverty of immigrants living nearby.
Hence, the book has plenty for the reader to laugh about, but the author doesn’t present the story as a complete joke. The novel’s themes of compassion, corruption, integrity, and teamwork are relevant and down-to-earth. Granted, there are a few sentences without proper dialogue tags, and unnecessary commas appear in some of the Scripture references that open up the chapters. Aside from those minimal details, the writing is polished, with a flow that’s natural and easy to follow.
Overall, this is a story with heart and substance, conveyed in a vastly comical, engaging, and relatable style. Therefore, I give Can I Be Frank? a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I’d recommend it to fans of humorous contemporary fiction that takes a look at serious matters, both inwardly and outwardly.
Can I Be Frank?
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like NadineTimes10's review? Post a comment saying so!