The story of the pensioner, the milk float, and the miracle worker.
Frank Derrick is 81. And he's just been run over by a milk float. It was tough enough to fill the hours of the day when he was active. But now he's broken his arm and fractured his foot, it looks set to be a very long few weeks ahead. Frank lives with his cat Bill (which made more sense before Ben died) in the typically British town of Fullwind-on-Sea.
The Villages in Bloom competition is the topic of conversation amongst his neighbours but Frank has no interest in that. He watches DVDs, spends his money frivolously at the local charity shop and desperately tries to avoid the cold callers continuously knocking on his door. Emailing his daughter in America on the library computer and visiting his friend Smelly John used to be the highlights of his week. Now he can't even do that.
Then a breath of fresh air comes into his life in the form of Kelly Christmas, home help. With her little blue car and appalling parking, her cheerful resilience and ability to laugh at his jokes, Kelly changes Frank's life. She reminds him that there is a big, wide world beyond the four walls of his flat and that adventures, however small, come to people of all ages.
Frank and Kelly's story is sad and funny, moving, familiar, uplifting. It is a small and perfect look at a life neither remarkable nor disastrous, but completely extraordinary nonetheless. For fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this is a quirky, life-affirming story that has enormous appeal. And it's guaranteed to make you laugh.
©2014 J. B. Morrison (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd
The outline of this story is that the main character Frank Derrick is hit by a milk float which renders him immobile and his daughter pays for a home help to nurse him back to health.
JB Morrison's characterisation of Frank is spot on, as is the narration by Julian Glover. Its funny, thought provoking and sensitive, sometimes all at once. We probably know a Frank, we certainly know some of the other characters portrayed. The book deals with the loneliness and banality of being old with a character who feels his time isn't up, but is going through the motions.
Once I started this audiobook I couldn't stop, hence it only lasted about 3 days, it's a much better listen than his last book, purely because the character is likeable.
I would totally recommend this audiobook as its a great story a great listen and a great performance.
"Funny, poignant and beautifully written"
This is the writers 4th book and the clearest evidence yet that one of the worlds finest lyricists is shaping up to be equally adept as a novelist. Not as laugh out loud funny as his last book, the excellent Driving Jarvis Ham, Frank Derrick is the more mature and poignant tale of an 81 year old man struggling to fill his remaining time with anything besides DVDs and cold callers. Frank has an accident with a milk float and home carer Kelly comes into his life. Whilst remaining laced with the authors considerable wit what makes the book so life affirming is the familiarity of the characters and the scenario they play out... as has been said previously, after reading this book you will phone your aged parents or grandparents immediately, riddled with guilt.
An excellent book, expertly read here by Julian Glover... definitely worth a credit, can't wait for the sequel out later this year.
"Light but sometimes insightful"
I could identify the description of Frank's daily life as similar to my father's in his last years: the cold calls, the begging letters from charities with free pens, and the need to make a project of the smallest things.
The book was at times 'too' light: it lacked any real sense of drama or any change in the dynamics of the narrative.
"proud to be 81"
frank derrick's life changes when he is knocked down by a milk float. Kelly comes into his lonely life as his carer until he gets better, then his llife feels empty without her.
enjoyed the story which is well written and performed by Julian glover.
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