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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures Hardcover – October 25, 2011
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt” is a retro delight. Meticulously assembled and designed by the author from her own huge collection of memorabilia, it turns scrapbooking into a literary art form. Fans of the Roaring ’20s, Nick Bantock and modernism will all find something of value in Preston’s nostalgic ephemera.” (Washington Post)
“In her whimsical mash-up of historical fiction and scrapbooking, Caroline Preston uses vintage images and artifacts, paper ephemera and flapper-era souvenirs.... Apparently no junk shop or eBay seller was spared in Preston’s search for ways to bring her fictional heroine to life.” (O, The Oprah Magazine, Lead Review)
“In THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT, Caroline Preston, a former archivist, pastes vintage postcards, Jazz Age ephemera and typewritten snippets into a sweetly beguiling novel about a New England girl who trades Vassar College for Greenwich Village on the advice of Edna St. Vincent Millay.” (New York Times Magazine)
“Every coat button, baseball card, or gramophone record seems to conduct electricity…. As a reader, you are enchanted with Frankie Pratt’s life…because her life-so carefully constructed and so elegantly detailed-is not so different from our own.” (DoubleX)
“The epistolary novel is ages old, the Twitter novel à la mode, but...The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt—to my knowledge—is the first scrapbook novel....[A] charming and transporting story, a collage of vintage memorabilia...and other ephemera depicts the adventures of an aspiring flapper-era writer.” (VanityFair.com)
“An American (flapper) in Paris: Le Dôme café, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and l’amour all show up in scrapbook form in this novel.” (AARP.org)
“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston is for those who love history, strong young women, and unusual story-telling.” (Examiner.com)
“Somehow, Preston manages to make this scene feel fresh--partly because [this] really is a scrapbook, each page composed of artifacts: advertisements, yearbook photos, ticket stubs, menus from the automat, and paper dolls modeling their finest… its vintage graphics and sweet, sincere storytelling make it a pure pleasure.” (Boston Globe)
“Literal, literary and lovely....Preston’s book is a visual journey unlike any other novel out there right now....Can be devoured in the course of a pot of tea on a cold day [but] pick [it] up the next day just to look at the images.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“Selecting from her own collection of period mementos, Preston (Gatsby’s Girl, 2006, etc.) creates a literal scrapbook for a young New Hampshire woman coming of age in the 1920s. . . . .Lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“The vintage scrapbook is an effective vehicle for an entertaining coming-of-age story steeped in the pop culture of the Roaring Twenties. A highly enjoyable read well suited to historical romance fans and scrapbookers alike.” (Library Journal)
“THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is like reading your favorite flapper great-aunt’s diary. It’s a ripping yarn of emancipated girlish adventure.” (Audrey Niffenegger)
“What an amazing, creative, funny, thoughtful dip into the life and times of the inimitable Frankie. I know I’ll come back to Preston’s wonderful creation time and again; for its color, warmth and whimsy. It’s a very, very clever novel.” (Jacqueline Winspear)
“[H]ave I just read/experienced/devoured the most delightful book ever published? ....There is magic here and genius. I marveled at every page: at first, just the astonishing collection of souvenirs and memorabilia and then the story—so wry and smart and literary and historically fascinating.” (Elinor Lipman)
“A literary bottle rocket—loaded with whimsy, pizzazz and heart. The illustrations are compelling and original, and the prose is perfection in the hands of Caroline Preston.... I heartily recommend.” (Adriana Trigiani)
“I’ve been enjoying Caroline Preston’s ingenious THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT, a novel made up entirely of vintage images. It’s nifty and fun—[and] the plot moves along, too!” (The Paris Review (blog))
Top Customer Reviews
It would be a wonderful gift for almost anyone: a fan of the 20's, people who love to read of the trials and triumphs of youth, teenagers (even boys), scrapbookers, and perhaps most surprisingly, scholars of the period or of ephemera and material culture.
In my opinion this was a sweet, fun, witty take on a novel. It was so much fun to scan all the photos on the page as I read the story of Frankie. Frankie is definitely a character you won't soon forget. When we meet her she is a fun loving, nice girl who us accepted at Vassar College but because of the price, she tells her mother she will not go instead she will work and save to become a nurse as her mother did. She knows her mother doesn't have the money to send her and doesn't want to burden her mom.
She takes a job as a nursemaid "babysitter" for an elderly woman but when the woman's grown son makes advances Frankie's mother does what any mother would do and gets them to write a check out to send Frankie to Vassar.
On a college scholarship, Frankie attends a prestigious school and matures. I loved the book and would love to hear more about Frankie. The photos of the memorabilia surrounding and enhancing the story forces me to remember how much I loved scrapbooking and I wish I had time to pull them out right now to look at them. Wonderful story and a great way to read. I always use the philosophy with my social media clients, "if there is a picture attached, they will read it! Quick read! Very well done! Can't wait for the next one
The scrapbook form reminds me of quiltmaking, in which something organized and aesthetically satisfying is made out of the material of everyday life. Scrapbooks are the preserve of the memento, the souvenir, the bulletin, the concert ticket, the dried flower, the advertisement, the matchbook, the cheap trinket, the brief note. It is a rich domain, indeed, full of symbols and signs, and susceptible to all kinds of philosophizing on how we memorialize ourselves and compose our life stories.
Frankie's story is especially interesting because she is attempting to make a new kind of life -- to be a writer and have adventures and live by her own lights. The scrapbook reflects this work of self-creation, and her story is buoyant and engaging and very satisfying. My only caveat is that the ending the author imagines for her seems rather conventional, compared to what comes before. Frankie will marry a doctor and settle down and have a family while (presumably) continuing to write. Still, she has already broken out of the conventional storyline for a young woman of her time, and we can hope she will continue to forge a different path.
As a physical object, the book is sheer delight. For "vintage" collectors and flea-market fanatics and ephemera-lovers like myself, it is like a ticket to paradise. The Horn & Hardart spoon is my favorite item... or is it the Crackerjack charm bracelet? Oh, I can't decide...
I enjoyed it very much.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As I read it I found myself envisioning the author assorting all the memorabilia and photos first, then crafting her story around all...Read more