The glory of this book is its richly evoked world, from the descriptions of the once wild California land steadily encroached on over the course of the 70s – as mountain lions are driven out and replaced by swimming pools – to the intense psychodramas of an extraordinary family ... Frank is a master of self-reflection, under the bowl of blue sky and in those closeted canyons. He says nothing in an ordinary way; everything has a dreamlike smoothness, born out of his extended act of retrieval and the remembered violence of emotion and inconstancy ... The final chapters – sad and glorious – capture a glitteringly dysfunctional family in a moment in time. I doubt you’ll read a better memoir this year. The Mighty Franks is full of humour and brittle irony. In Aunt Hankie, Frank has created a great new nonfictional character: an indelible wonder of dark depths and hypnotic high style.
... a marvelous, clear-eyed memoir about his eccentric family but especially about his glamorous but dangerously possessive Aunt Hank ... The Mighty Franks develops an almost thriller-like pace as Michael begins to draw away from his increasingly desperate aunt ... [a] beautifully written book.
Frank brings Proustian acuity and razor-sharp prose to family dramas as primal, and eccentrically insular, as they come ... As Frank discovers the dark flaws in his aunt’s script for him, he also reveals what she got right, and couldn’t wreck. Frank’s eye and ear, his words and wit—the voice in these pages has such style. Better yet, the style is utterly his own.