My Lovely Frankie

Judith Clarke

Allen & Unwin

July 2017

$19.99 AU

218p pb

ISBN: 978-1760296339

from PM Literary Awards...

A masterful, moving story about a boy caught between faith and love, by one of Australia's finest writers. In the 1950s, 'entering' the seminary was for ever, and young boys were gathered into the priesthood before they were old enough to know what they would lose. Tom went to St Finbar's because he was looking for something more than the ordinary happiness of his home and school. But then he discovered that being able to love another person was the most important thing of all. For Tom, loving Frankie made him part of the world. Even when Frankie was gone...

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My Lovely Frankie, is a book by Judith Clarke that puts ‘love and faith’ up against each other. The story follows the narration of a man named Thomas Rowland and his memoirs from the 1950s of his time at St. Finbar’s, a school for boys going into the priesthood. The story shows the development of ‘Tom’s’ feelings towards one of his friends, Frankie, who comes a week late to school and disappears in the middle of the year.


The use of popular topics such as homosexuality has a large appeal to young adult readers, especially when it is up against the contrast of personal belief. The storyline is quite unique and works really well. I like how it is set in the 1950s, a period that hasn’t been explored much in recent young adult literature. Although, when the story goes back and forth between the present and past, I found it can be a little confusing at times; it has a good balance between the narrating and the narration. This is a well-written piece of work that I could barely put down.


I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to people who like teenage high-school story novels or books from authors like, John Green.

Olivia, age 15

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