Tag Archives: The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick Age 81

Book Club Reflection: The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison

17 Feb

It’s always interesting how much a book club discussion can change your perspective of a book. I’m almost always glad I went to a meeting, especially when I didn’t like a book.

There is a sequel to Frank’s story, Frank Derrick’s Holiday of a Lifetime. From the cover, it seems he makes it the US to visit his daughter. I read this book, but another member listened to the audio and said it was well done. This wasn’t the kind of book we normally read and I wasn’t surprised to hear that our organizer was a fan of the author’s music. If you knew us, you wouldn’t be surprised either.

The book spoke a lot about getting old and the loneliness that it can entail. The older members of our group identified more with frank. When his wife died, he was very lonely. One member has a British husband and she described for us that the attitude toward retirement is very different in the UK. In the US, retirement is a time to travel, indulge your hobbies, and volunteer. Her husband grew up feeling that retirement was when you sat down and waited to die. Thankfully, he’s changed his tune about retiring with an American bend to it.

One reader felt that Frank was a crotchety old man. If he’d been younger, we might not have described his pessimism and sarcasm this way, but because he’s older, the word seems to fit. Many suspected that he was in the early stages of dementia and wondered how that might have accounted for some of his behavior.

The structure of the book gives us only Frank’s perspective. We don’t get anything about how Kelly feels about him or how his daughter is dealing with being so far away. The daughter is a real mystery because we don’t know what’s going on in her house or in her head. She might well suspect that her father is perfectly fine after his accident and that’s why she didn’t come. Or she may really have a financial burden that makes her unable to come to visit. Some felt she was a neglectful daughter and others wondered if she knew her father all too well.

A lot of us wanted to talk about the scene where Frank went swimming. A few thought it was a suicide attempt. Others saw it as a baptismal scene where he was able to wash himself of the loneliness that had surrounded him since Sheila’s death and find a way to move forward. I’d never considered that it could be a suicide, I saw it as more of the latter.

One of our members works with the public in a similar fashion to Kelly. She’s run into situations where the patients didn’t want her to leave and were a lot like Frank in how much they clung to her. I was surprised to find out I was in a vast minority who thought Frank and Kelly’s beach trip was a bit too much. Others said Kelly was kind, and to think of it like a teacher who buys school supplies or clothes for kids who don’t have them. When she became more professional and formal with Frank at the end, it was because she realized they’d gotten too close and that she needed to put up a boundary. I’m still on the fence about this one.

We contemplated if Frank really thought he had a chance with Kelly. He did think she was going to kiss him at one point and he seemed nervous about being bathed by her but he doesn’t explicitly say much else about her. It seemed more like a schoolgirl crush than anything serious to me.

We meet again right after my Greece trip so everyone wished me happy travels. I’ll look forward to sharing my travels with this group.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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WWW Wednesday, 12-February-2020

12 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I think I’m nearing the end of Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. I’ve been having more days I can dedicate to reading during my lunch which has been nice. I’m going to be optimistic and say I have two weeks left on this one.
I’ve really liked what I’ve read so far from What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha. I thought this book was going to be a lot of science and politics that would be a drag to get through, but Hanna-Attisha has approached it like a memoir. It’s about her interaction with Flint and the water crisis and how she became active.
I’m already halfway through Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. This is such a cute story and I love that it involves running! I haven’t ready an endurance sport book in a while and this is getting me ready for tri season starting soon.

Recently finished: After such a rush from last week, I’m not surprised that I don’t have any to add here this week. I think next week will see at least one title, though.

I was able to get some reviews written! I posted my review of The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison on Monday. I gave it Three out of Five Stars. I’ll have another post about it soon because my book club met on Monday to talk about it.
I also reviewed The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I’m so happy I finally finished this one because I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to do another buddy read with this friend because we had a blast. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I have to change the plan here a bit due to the library due dates (boo). I’m picking out all the formats of books and I think I’ll need a new audiobook first. I’ve settled on Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). It will feel good to be caught up on this series and I’d love to have a little mystery in my life for a bit.
As for an ebook, I’m thinking of The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. I’ve loved his books before and I believe I’m caught up on his fiction after this one.
As for a print book, I think I’ve put off my Spanish read for too long this year. I’m going to dive in with Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago. I found this in a used book store in New Orleans a few years ago and I think it’s about time I opened it up.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison (3/5)

10 Feb

This isn’t the typical book for our book club. The group tends to skew younger for a library book club and we tend to read more ‘edgy’ novels and less conventional book club selections. So I was surprised when we were handed a book that reminded me of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It didn’t seem like a good pick for our group and I’m curious to see what people think of it at the meeting tonight.

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison

Summary from Goodreads:

Frank Derrick is eighty-one. 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.

This book never took off for me. I kept waiting for a story to start and it didn’t feel like one did. Frank is trying to get a semblance of his life back together after his accident and Kelly helps him find a way to do that but it seemed to me she made him take steps back before he moved forward. For a lot of the novel, he seemed to be slipping. He was selling his possessions and buying things he didn’t need. He was eating badly and was struggling to care for himself. It reminded me of my grandpa before he died. I couldn’t see any joy or way forward in his story. At the very end, he has a breakthrough but by then I’d given up on this book as being a sad story about a man’s descent into a trap of old age that he wasn’t going to climb out of.

Frank seemed real to me most of the time. I liked his internal dialogue. When he talked about the old ladies on the bus and how he thought they were always laughing at him, I related to that. I’ve for sure felt that way several times as well. I found it relatable when he couldn’t stop buying things and bringing them home even when he was selling things to make money. It seemed like a very real compulsion. We don’t get a lot of detail about the other characters to see if they feel as real as Frank but having a well constructed main character like him was a solid basis for the book.

Frank was my favorite character. I was tempted to say Kelly for a second, but we don’t know much about her and I think I only liked her because Frank liked her. Frank was easy to like, even when I pitied him. I wanted to help him because he was a nice man and really just wanted to be loved. I’m sure I might sympathize with him later in life, but I still liked him.

I have little in common with Frank and that was part of the reason I wasn’t as invested in his story. He’s very different from me and at a very different point in his life. My parents are only just retiring and my grandparents have always lived far away. Honestly, I’m more like Frank’s daughter than Frank. It was hard for me to relate to someone retired and with limited mobility like Frank had after his accident.

J.B. Morrison
Image via Goodreads

I was most interested in Frank’s trips to the pawnshop. I thought he was being so creative to try and make enough money to spend just one more week with Kelly. He seemed a bit ambitious to keep returning after his first trip didn’t go so well but I still admired his tenacity. I wished the things he held in such high regard had brought him more money, but I also think it’s the things we think are most valuable that others won’t see the value in.

The trip to the ocean struck me as odd. I found it odd Kelly would choose to spend her holiday with a patient and would treat him to extravagances like she did. Granted, they probably cost her very little overall but they meant so much to Frank. It was wonderful that she did that, but I thought it was unrealistic.

I’ve read more than one book lately about the elderly and how our society pushes them to the fringes of our thoughts and tends to forget them. This is the story of a man who was pushed to the outside. His daughter is distant, his neighbors unhelpful, and the one friend he has is now gone. He’s forced to face disability very quickly and I think Kelly paying attention to him when he felt so ignored was why he formed such an attachment to her. I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my grandmas but with large distances between us, it’s very hard.

Writer’s Takeaway: With a character-driven novel, it can be hard to have a strong storyline and I think this story was lacking. The story of how Frank became independent again and found his confidence was good in theory, but it was a bit slow-paced and it was hard to figure out where the story was heading for a while. It took me until the very end to see the path Frank was taking and I think it would have benefited from some clarification earlier on.

Overall, not a great book but a good example of wit and internal dialogue. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81- J.B Morrison | franny & perks
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison | nowasIwrite
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by JB Morrison | Spiteful Reviews

WWW Wednesday, 5-February-2020

5 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still plugging away with Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. The part I’m reading is short interviews with YA authors who are sharing their stories and advice. It’s really encouraging, if I’m being honest, and I’m liking it a lot.
I’m excited to have a lot of new books here! My next book club pick is What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha. This book focuses on the Flint Water Crisis. Since I live so close to Flint (less than an hour), this narrative really hits home because I’ve been there and see how differently the people in Flint have to live because of the crisis. And yes, it’s still ongoing.
I’ve decided on my next audiobook being Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. My husband got me a print copy of this book a few years ago because it combines animals and running and he thought I’d love it. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to pick up the print version yet but I’m excited to experience it in audio.

Recently finished: I finally finished The Dutch House by Ann Patchett! My reading buddy and I were so excited to finish this one that we set a shorter time between our third meeting and this last one because we knew we’d rush to finish it. I’ll be reviewing it in the next week or two. I’m still teetering between four and five stars for this one.
I finally finished Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner. It felt like I read this one very slowly though I’m not sure that’s really true. It was a good enough story, but it wasn’t as fun for me as I thought. I’ll still finish the series, though. Again, I’m teetering. This one is either three or four stars.
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison never picked up for me. It stayed pretty slow-paced throughout and I wasn’t able to get as invested as I wanted to be in the characters. This will be an interesting book club discussion and I’m curious to see what people think when we meet next week.

Reading Next: I’m not optimistic about starting it soon, but I still have The Running Man by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) waiting in the wings. I really hope I can start it before my vacation abroad, but we’ll see how it plays out.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-January-2020

29 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still moving slowly through Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. Though, I think I’m further than I give myself credit for. The progress bar a the bottom looks like I’m less than halfway but I believe there’s a long index at the end and I’m probably a lot closer to the end than I think. I’ll soldier on!
I can’t wait to read more of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. We’re having dinner tonight to discuss the third quarter and then I can hurry on to the end!
I got about halfway through Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner. I really like Sarah as a character and knowing she’s based on a real person makes me like her even more. I hope to have this finished next week but we’ll see.
I feel like The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison is going to be slow for me. There’s some great humor in the writing, but it’s moving slower than I’d like. I’ll keep pressing on.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished, just a new review up. I posted my review of Colombiano by Rusty Young on Monday. This was a heck of a book and really got me to think a lot about problems in other parts of the world and how little I understand about them. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I picked up The Running Man by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) and it’s patiently waiting on my bedside table. A friend told me she owns a copy so if I don’t finish in time, I have a backup option. I hope I can finish, though!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-January-2020

22 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Not much with Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. This will be here for a while and I’m OK with that, I’ve just got to keep moving forward with it.
I wrapped up the next segment of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett for my Buddy Read. It’s really hard not to put through to the end but I’m determined to make it!
I finally started Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner as an audiobook. I had a long drive for a swim meet this weekend and was glad to have a long book to keep me company for the two-hour drive (each way!).
I also started The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison. I’m still early on but I think that it will be a quick read so far. I hope so because I’ve got a lot of other books I want to read!

Recently finished: It feels like forever, but I’ve finally finished Colombiano by Rusty Young. This one was exhausting. Young wanted to give his readers an idea of the lives of child soldiers in Colombia and I’d say he did that and then some. Pedro’s story is tragic and engrossing at the same time. It was quite a haul to get through it, but this book was worth it. Four out of Five Stars.

I posted two reviews this week! I think I’m finally caught up from November when I didn’t review anything. I hated being that far behind. I posted a review of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee on Monday. I absolutely loved this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough to everyone. A full Five out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed American by Day by Derek B. Miller. This was really powerful in the wake of recent American racial violence and I’m glad Miller offered a foreigner’s perspective because I felt it was powerful. Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: The Running Man by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) came in at the library so I hope to start that as soon as I finish Frank Derrick. It will be quite a different pace but I look forward to it.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-January-2020

15 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: This was a slow week for Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. I kept having people join me at lunch even though I eat really early. It’s not a bad sign, right? But maybe I need to find someone else to eat and read if I want to get through an ebook in a reasonable amount of time.
I’m onto the next segment of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. My buddy reader and I had a great discussion last week and I’m excited to go even further with these characters. The hard part is going to be stopping when I’m so close to the end!
I’ve reached the halfway mark in Colombiano by Rusty Young. This book is quite the epic and while I know a normal-length book would be over by now, I feel like this one is still ramping up. I’m not sure how this can end because there is so much that needs to be tied up before I feel I can leave Pedro and not be worried about him.

Recently finished: I sped through American by Day by Derek B. Miller. We had some bad weather here in the Midwest so I was happy to stay indoors with some tea and finish this. I had a few hard swims over the weekend that made me ready to fall asleep in my favorite nap chair while reading and this book was just perfect for that. I really enjoy Miller and what he can do with a story. I hope to read more from him soon.

I did finish a review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I enjoyed the story enough, but it didn’t really work for me as a novel. I ended up giving it Three out of Five Stars. I’ll have to try another Sepetys book because I adored the first one of hers that I read and I do love historical fiction.

Reading Next: I’ll keep planning on Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner as an audiobook. Eventually.
I haven’t received my copy of The Running Man by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) through ILL yet. I’m a bit nervous about it coming in now because I’m not sure I’ll have to get to it.
My book club met on Monday and our next book is The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison. I know absolutely nothing about this book and I’ve never heard of the author so who knows how this one will turn out. I think I’ll have to do this one in print, too.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!