Publication Date: October 25, 2011
When Candace over at Beth Fish Reads featured Caroline Preston’s The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, I knew this was a book for me. I love journaling and art so reading a book that’s told in pictures though in a new format, sounded too good to pass up.
It’s 1920 and Frankie Pratt is an eighteen-year old girl who dreams of being a writer. After her high school graduation, she’s given her father’s typewriter and a scrapbook as a way to realize her dream. Frankie would love to attend Vassar but on her widowed mother’s salary as a home nurse, there’s just no way that will happen. Fortunately for Frankie, her situation changes and her new life begin.
The subtitle, A Novel in Pictures, is a perfect fit. Frankie’s story is told with ephemera from the 1920s. Though it fits my definition of a graphic novel (pictures + words), I wouldn’t describe the book in that manner. The author coined Frankie Pratt, a “scrapbook novel” and I think that’s the perfect term for this new format. Preston does such a fantastic job at matching pictures with Frankie’s life that I wondered what came first, Frankie’s story or the pictures. Not only that but while reading this, I didn’t feel like there was pieces missing to the story or that I had to fill in the blank spaces. Readers get enough of everything for this book to be a satisfying read.
Being that this is the 1920s, there’s mention of famous people and places of that time like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. I thought it was all interesting and the story kept me rooting for Frankie all the way until the end.
After reading The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, I was happy to find out that Preston is currently working on her next scrapbook novel.
Here’s an excerpt that I found on NPR about poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s visit to Vassar while Frankie was a student there. Click on the pictures to enlarge.