The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
Ecco, 228 pages
From the author of the “New York Times” Notable Book, “Jackie by Josie,” comes a spirited, visually lush, and stunning novel, inspired by the art of scrapbooking and told through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, starring an unforgettable heroine and set in the burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s.
I’m one of those people who tries to scrapbook. I say try because as much as I try, I can’t really make my scrapbook pages look…well, as pretty and cute as the ones that other people do. That, or maybe I just don’t have that artsy vibe (and the patience) and access to art supplies at MisterArt.com to do them. But anyway, that never really stopped me from having fun with my planners, though:So it’s not as pretty, but it serves pretty well as my own memory bank. That’s pretty much why I was delighted to receive The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston from one of my co-moderators in our book club on my 26th birthday (Thanks, Kuya Doni!). I had no idea what the book was about, but looking at the first few pages, I knew I was going to like this if only for the visual treat that it has. If I can’t make pretty scrapbook pages, then I would live vicariously through others’, even if it is from a fictional character.
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt tells of a story of Frances Pratt, who received a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter as a high school graduation present. In here she documents her summer after high school where she decides to forgo a college scholarship to help her mom out, but she is smitten by an older man. Her mom finds a way to get her to college to keep her out of the influence of her unsuitable suitor, and Frankie finds her world opening up to more possibilities than she can imagine. We follow Frankie’s adventures in college and in her meeting Vassar alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay, who inspires Frankie to go to New York to pursue her dreams. But when heartbreak finds her there, she sets sail to Paris to make it on her own. All Frankie wants is to find herself and the love of her life, but will she ever find it when she gets called home to be with her sick mother?
If I were to describe this book in a just one word, it’s gorgeous. I loved every page of the book with all the typewritten (and some handwritten) words and the photos and the 1920′s memorabilia. Some of them makes me wish they were real and I can pluck them off the page and keep them for myself! Look at some of these photos from the inside of the book (warning, slight photo dump):
Can you imagine how much effort the author went through for each and every page of this book? I’m no expert in vintage, but this book just screams it from the cover all the way to the last page, and it made me a bit more interested in the 1920′s (even if I have a feeling I don’t think I can carry a flapper dress, LOL).
The story feels just a little bit ordinary. I don’t mean that in a bad way — but if you’ve read the book’s dust jacket, you pretty much know the story save for what happens in the end. It didn’t have that much revelation, and it read like a coming-of-age story, but again, I didn’t find ittoo shocking. But then…life doesn’t have to be shocking to be extraordinary, yes?
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a relaxing book to read for all its gorgeousness, and maybe that really is the charm of the book. It may not end up as a favorite, but I will keep it on my shelf whenever I need to look at some pretty stuff, and maybe even get inspiration for the other pages of my planner when I get the mood to scrapbook again. :)
My copy: hardcover, birthday gift from Kuya Doni (Thank you!)