Wednesday, January 25, 2012

REVIEW: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Caroline Preston

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Caroline Preston. Published 2011 by Ecco.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a delightful little trifle, a novel told in vintage ephemera- fashion plates, ads, photos, postcards and more. It tells the story of Miss Frances Pratt, a young lady of lesser means from New Hampshire. She meets a dashing gentleman, absconds to Vassar and then to Paris. She has a scrapbook and an old typewriter when she leaves high school in 1920 which she uses to record her adventures and make her way in the world.

Caroline Preston tells Frankie's story with concise, witty first-person narration, so that we feel that we are reading Frankie's own diary. We see her insecurities and mishaps, and her tentative steps towards adulthood. We share in her friendship with the glamorous Allegra Wolf, her Vassar roommate, and her near-romance with Allegra's brother. We see her time in Paris and what happens when she comes back, and her ultimate happy ending as well.

The book is charming and unusual. The pictures illustrate rather than tell the story, so while it's tempting to describe it as a graphic novel for adults, it really isn't. Preston has written this sparse tale with skill such that neither the characterizations nor the story feel thin. Nonetheless, The Scrapbook is a quick read, maybe two cups of tea long with enough left over for a scone if one were in the mood. It's a fun, funny and sweet book with a winning heroine at its helm. Pick it up for a light, enjoyable and visually engaging read.

The American Library Association agrees and awarded the book a 2012 Alex Award for Best Adult Book for Teens!

Rating: BEACH
I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales. 

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

12 comments:

Mystica said...

Sounds like a Virago read! delightful.

bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed this one too. I passed it on to my mother and she said it brought back a lot of fond memories for her.

Katie said...

I enjoyed Frankie's story - and oh, those vintage bits of ephemera! So lovely.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I was absolutely delighted with this book. With only a few words and pictures, I walked away feeling like I knew Frankie. Preston is such a talent. I can't wait for her next book.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

From your review it sounds so lovely, something one can really fall in love with. Thanks for sharing it.

Zibilee said...

I have had this one sitting on my side table for a few weeks, and I really want to make time for it as soon as I can. I know I am going to love it, as I am a big scrapbooker, and I am glad that you loved it too!

Anna said...

I really enjoyed this book. Fun to read and even more fun to look at!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

One of my favorite books of 2011! Absolutely loved it.

Kathleen said...

Funny and sweat are probably two qualities in a book that would be good for me to read right about now!

rhonda said...

I loved this book. So origional so beautiful a little treasure.

softdrink said...

I was surprised by how much story there actually was...I didn't think a book comprised mostly of collages would have as much depth as it did.

stacybuckeye said...

I liked this one too. So creative.