Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures

Caroline Preston

240 pages

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Ecco

Source: Publisher


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.


19 thoughts on “Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

  1. Sandy and Kathy just loved this book, and now I want to get the chance to read it as well. It sounds like such a unique premise, and one that is really well executed. I must check this one out soon! Fantastic review!

    1. Edi, I can’t imagine someone trying to read this book on their e-reader! It’s really not that kind of book. The book I think about e-readers, the more I realize some books aren’t meant to be read in that format.

  2. I won this book recently and just received it in the mail. I am really looking forward to reading it since there’s a lot about it that interests me…the time period, Frankie making NYC her home, her wish to write. and the format is new and different for me. I haven’t read many graphic novels either, so the scrap-booking idea is fun.
    Reading your review got me even more excited. I might have to sit down with this book tonight or tomorrow and start reading!

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