Review: Young Frances

In the immortal words of Whodini “Friends, how many of us have them?”  It is considered one of the all time hip hop classics, but as with all songs back then, they sought to teach their listeners. As I heard the song play in my car, the other day, I paid attention to the lyrics, and the second line in the bridge caught” How many of them(friends) can you depend on?” That line actually gave me pause, as  it made me consider those people who I consider “friends.”

There are people who I have not talked to in years, but when we see each other, it was like we never stopped talking. Then there are users in your life, and only seek you when they need something, but when you need them, they are nowhere to be found.  Of course, when you are young, it takes time, sometimes years, before you see people for who they really are. In Hartley Lin’s brilliant Young Frances, the reader gets a front row seat of two friends on wholly different paths but can’t do without the other.

We meet Frances, a hot upstart lawyer who seems to be on the fast track, as her firm is in disarray, much like her personal life. We meet her friend, Vickie, an aspiring actress and the one-person Frances mostly can’t say no to. As both friends navigate their respective professions, Frances begins to feel overworked, swimming around office politics but climbs regardless while Vickie, steadily rises to fame, which takes her to Los Angeles, which has all the pitfalls. By book’s end, though Frances seemed like she would not be anymore than her station, she became a shining light for all her peers to follow.

Overall, an excellent book that captures the downsides of friendship, the overzealous politics of the workplace and the value of hard work. The story by Lin captures the complexities of life, the absurdity of self-importance, and the need for self-worth. The art by Lin is vivid, elegant, and warm. Altogether, an excellent book which shows Lin is a force to be reckoned with. His deft touch to characters and portrayal of slice of life is what makes him exceptional.

Story: Hartley Lin Art: Hartley Lin
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy