3 out of 4 stars
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When the clumsiest priest in all of England gets assigned to a small parish outside of Orlando, Florida, it seems like a trip that is destined to go up in flames. Fr. Francis "Frank" Gold, has not gotten his career as a priest off to a good start, between the crashed vehicles and the dead pigs at the seminary. Unfortunately, Fr. Frank seems fated to a life of accidents and mayhem following him wherever he goes. But when he moves to a little town outside of Orlando, FL, can he reverse his luck and do some good for the Church and his new parish, St. Francis of Assisi? With a millionaire out to ruin his reputation and a woman trying to get him into her bed, how will Fr. Frank come out on top?
Rob Wyatt's novel Can I Be Frank? is a highly enjoyable and easy read that sends a reader on a roller coaster of emotions with an unlikely hero in Fr. Frank. The characters were well developed and easy to relate to. I found myself, as a reader, feeling anger, joy, sadness, and confusion right along with them. I imagine that the trials and tribulations that Fr. Frank and his team encounter are not far-fetched considering the current state and media attention give to the Catholic Church in America.
It was interesting, as an American reader, to read a book that is written in the United Kingdom English tone and manner. The main character, Fr. Frank is from England, while the other main characters are from the United States. As Floridians have accents and mannerisms while speaking that is unique and extremely different from the English, it would've added to the story and character depth if the other characters conversed like Floridians, instead of in a United Kingdom tone.
There were a couple of times where Fr. Frank did not appear to know what to do as a priest or was unaware of simple background information that he would have definitely learned in the seminary. For example, when he put on the alter boy vestments instead of the priest's vestments. I found it surprising that he wouldn't have known the difference.
There were a few points in the story where Wyatt describes how various encounters between an Englishman and an American would occur that were extremely funny. For example, when Fr. Frank and Fr. William journey to the local Super Mart and are discussing different slang and jargon between the United States and the United Kingdom that would go into something as simple and everyday as grocery shopping. Though both countries technically speak English, there are some vast and sometimes funny differences.
Overall, I give Can I Be Frank? 3 out of 4 stars. I found the story to be a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read that flowed naturally and ended in a good place. The characters were relatable and easy to like, while the villains of the story made it easy to choose sides. While there were a few spelling and grammatical errors, the story was a fun adventure into the life of a priest looking to find his place in not only the Church, but the world. Also, who doesn't cheer for an under dog?
Can I Be Frank?
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