ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Frank & Red by Matt Coyne #BlogTour
It’s my stop on the tour for Frank & Red by Matt Coyne. It’s published by Wildfire and available now in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Ollie Martin for the proof and finished copies of the book.
Frank and Red are a mess.
Frank is a grumpy old curmudgeon. A recluse whose only company is the ‘ghost’ of his dead wife, Marcie. He is estranged from his friends, his son, and the ever-changing world beyond his front gate.
And then Red moves in next door.
Red is six. A boy struggling to adjust to the separation of his mum and dad, a new school, and the demonic school bully. Red is curious, smart, he never stops talking, and he’s got a trampoline.
From the moment Red’s blonde mop appears over the top of the fence that divides their two gardens, the unlikeliest of friendships is born.
. . . And it is a friendship that will change both of their lives forever.
Frank might seem like a grumpy old man (and to be fair, he is) but delve beneath the surface and there’s a bit more to it than that. Maybe it just needs a clever (precocious?) six year old new neighbour called Red to show him that there is still life worth living. After all, Red has his own crosses to bear; his mum and dad no longer live together and he’s had to move to a new school, leaving behind his best friend.
God loves a trier and Red really does try hard to chisel away at that tough Frank exterior. The story is told alternately from each main character’s point of view and does an excellent job of showing the thoughts and feelings that go through their minds, as well as the joyful and often funny interactions between them.
In the end, as is often the case, the child shows the adults what compassion really is and Red embarks on quite an epic quest for a six year old. I did find Red exceptionally advanced for his age but his personality really makes him a special character. Frank is well-drawn too, as a man who just wants to be left alone, and the minimal supporting characters are just right.
Frank & Red is full of warmth and takes us on a journey from grief, loss and separation to acceptance, friendship and hopefulness via an unlikely, but truly uplifting, intergenerational bond.
Matt Coyne is from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. In September 2015, Matt’s life was turned upside down by the arrival of his son Charlie. After three months of parenthood, he logged on to social media and wrote about his experience of being a clueless, first-time parent. Within days, his post about surviving the first few months of parenthood was shared by millions all over the world.
Following this, Matt created his popular blog Man vs Baby, which now has over 400,000 followers on social media. He has two Sunday Times bestselling books based on Man vs Baby and has also written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, Private Eye and GQ Magazine
Matt lives in Sheffield with his son Charlie, his partner Lyndsay and a Jack Russell terrier with ‘issues’ called Popcorn.
Frank and Red is Matt’s first novel.