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Frank

The True Story that Inspired the Movie
Written by: Jon Ronson
Narrated by: Jon Ronson
Length: 1 hr and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong.

Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream. It tells the true story behind the fictionalized movie.

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of four best sellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London and New York City.

©2014 Jon Ronson (P)2014 Audible Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • 2017-07-31

Frankly, Not Enough

In his younger days, Jon Ronson played keyboards in a band fronted by Frank Sidebottom, a comic character who always wore a big plastic head. In 2014, Ronson co-wrote a screenplay that was a fictionalized version of his memoir of being in Frank's band. That film character was based on Frank Sidebottom but also incorporated elements of other outsider artists like Captain Beefheart and Daniel Johnston.

In this short audiobook, Ronson tells the non-fictionalized version of his time with Frank, as well as discussing outsider artists, including Beefheart, Johnston. and the Shaggs. What we have is typical Ronson -- droll, entertaining, illuminating, and as always perfectly narrated by Ronson himself.

But it's not enough. This should have been a full length book. There should have been full chapters on Beefheart, Johnston, the Shaggs, and other outsider musical artists like Gong, The Residents, Wild Man Fischer, Moondog, Tiny Tim, even William Shatner as a singer -- the proof is the chapter on Insane Clown Posse in Ronson's Lost at Sea, one of his very best pieces of work.

Jon, if this ever comes your way -- please, that would be an awesome book. For Jon's fans, this is a tasty little morsel, but it leaves you wanting for more, and not in the best sense of that phrase.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua Kring
  • 2015-05-06

Not My Favorite

Any additional comments?

I love Jon Robson's books, but this short little story was lacking something. I'm not sure what. I do know this was 10 times better than that God awful movie which I bought before listening to the story, but watched just a day or two later. Don't bother with that.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pattywolford
  • 2014-04-09

Now, looking forward to the movie!

Jon Ronson narrates this as well, and it is excellent, mostly because of his own insights as he reads his own words. This is my 4th Audible purchase of his books here. I would also have purchased The Men Who Stare at Goats, but the narrator is not Jon Ronson, and lacks the quality of his readings.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Spencer
  • 2018-01-12

Fantastic Story about a No One from No Where

I bought this book because it is written and narrated by Jon Ronson. I'd never heard of Frank and didn't really care. I was confident Ronson could make a great tale out of the dullest material. Boy was I surprised! Frank is anything, but dull.

This multidimensional character steals the spotlight, but Ronson provides a vulnerable and insight look into his own life during this time. Ronson's perpetual self-awareness combined with Frank's carefree showmanship makes for a great combination.

I really enjoy Ronson's voice and look forward to listening to more of his work. Highly recommended on all levels.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Ferron
  • 2015-11-07

Jon Ronson fan # (?)

What made the experience of listening to Frank the most enjoyable?

I really like Jon's voice. There is a really sensibility, and honesty to it.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The reflection on marginal artists

2 people found this helpful

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  • jme
  • 2017-11-17

Two thumbs up

Jon Ronson books are always worth the read/listen. This is is just as odd and entertaining as any other. 10/10 Would buy again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Cooper
  • 2017-08-13

Great backstory, wish it was longer

Very short audio book but well worth listening to if you're curious after seeing the film. Felt like it could have been so much more fleshed out, though. The author's narration is fairly monotone but still charming because of the accent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nina Gaby
  • 2015-11-20

Jon Ronson can do no wrong!

Would you listen to Frank again? Why?

Yes, he is relevant and provocative. Great writer.

What did you like best about this story?

His gentle irony.And what a great story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I chuckled throughout, but also resonated with the sadness.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Too many toys
  • 2014-04-20

The weakest of Ronson's works

What would have made Frank better?

A real story

What was most disappointing about Jon Ronson’s story?

The story was far fetched and only marginally interesting

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Focus on another story

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Frank?

This might have made an interesting 30 minute or 1 hour story. It was appropriate as an anecdote not a full-length story.

Any additional comments?

Even Ronson fans (as I am) should avoid this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chris S.
  • 2019-06-12

Short but good

It's no Psychopath Test, but if you have finished all Ronson's other full-length works this is a nice addition for those craving more.