Friday, October 21, 2011

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston - Review and Press Release

When I was younger I could read a book in a couple of hours to a few hours, but definitely had many days of starting and finishing a novel within a 24 hour period.  Flash forward to the present - three kids, a full time job, a home, etc - I cannot remember the last time that has happened!

Today I ended up working from home because Miss N. was sick and had to stay home from school.  During the day I received "The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt" in the mail.  As a new scrapbooker and avid reader, I was looking forward to reading this novel.  I opened the package, thumbed through the book and could not wait to take a closer look.

After work I started to read the novel.  I took a break to pick up the groceries, came home, put the groceries away, unloaded the dishwasher and resumed reading a couple of hours later until I finished. I tore through this book in a couple of hours.

This novel is done in a scrapbook format.  Follow the life of Frankie Pratt from adolescence (1920) through early adulthood (1928) while being treated to a beautiful collection of vintage photographs, artwork, poetry, quotes from literature, and memorabilia of mementos from the period.

See sample pages here

The story itself was lovely.  Frankie is the only daughter from a family of five.  Her father passed away and her mother has been struggling financially to raise Frankie and her two brothers.  Through brief snippets of recollections, the reader follows Frankie as she ventures through many firsts - first dates, the first time away from home, first jobs, first loves, first failed friendships, first heartbreaks, first travels, etc.  These are shared through the use of a typewriter and a scrapbook one inherited and one a gift.  There was an obvious sweet and genuine flavor to the story but there were also an underlying humorous tone.

Some of the story was predictable but definitely not to the extent that you could foresee the ending!  It is quite challenging to believe that Caroline Preston wrote this book and not the larger-than-life Frankie Pratt.

This is a beautiful book - more of a coffee table book than a novel.  It is a must have for anyone with a love of the 20's, a love of scrapbooking, a love of art,  a love of reading and a fondness for nostalgic vintage items.  (READ - Holiday gift!).  For more information visit the author's website, Harper Collins or your favorite book retailer.


 “Scrapbooking was never like this before. Author Caroline Preston, with three novels to her credit, has let ephemera do a lot of the talking in her first “scrapbook novel” telling the tales of Frankie Pratt a very smart young woman from Cornish Flats, New Hampshire who was given a scrapbook for her high school graduation in 1920. …The text, delivered by the old Corona, is sparse and terse, at times almost like Hemingway, but that’s to be expected when it’s images that fill most of the pages and add so much to the story. .. . It’s no wonder there are so many well-chosen illustrations. Caroline Preston knows her way around scrapbooks and ephemera as she has served as an archivist at both the Peabody/Essex Museum and Harvard’s Houghton Library.” ―The Ephemera Society of America Newsletter

 “In handsome, full-color pages, the memorabilia tell the story of Frankie, an aspiring writer who leaves her poor New England family to travel to Vassar, then to New York, then to Paris, where she becomes tangled in a romance with an older publisher with ties to her past. . . . . a nifty armchair tour of postwar literary culture.” ―Publishers Weekly 

 “When she graduates from high school in 1920, Frankie gets a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona, which keeps her busy at Vassar and thereafter, as she pursues a writing career and sails for France on the S.S. Mauritania. Her story is illustrated with various memorabilia appropriate to scrapbooking: vintage postcards, magazine ads, ticket stubs, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, menus, and more. Sounds charming, and Preston’s Jack by Josie did well; the 40,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour to Asheville (NC), Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Charlottesville (VA), New York, Raleigh/Durham, Washington, D.C., and upon request are good news for this work.” ―Library Journal, 
(note - I may try to see the author during her visit here!  scroll to the bottom of the page for Triangle book tour dates)

Pre-pub alert “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—but the plot moves along, too!” ―Paris Review Blog

“ . . . .tore through THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT by Caroline Preston. I think a lot of readers are going to adore this novel told through collected ephemera, everything from 1930s advertising circulars to locks of hair and pieces of jewelry.” ―Friday Reads Blog “lovingly constructed with gorgeous 20s ephemera. . . .the bee's knees, the cat's meow.” ―The Roaring 20s Blog 

I would highly recommend Caroline Preston’s new book THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT: A NOVEL IN PICTURES (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers; $25.99/$33.99 Can.; Hardcover; ISBN 13: 9780061966903; on-sale: October 25, 2011),

"a visually stunning, full-color novel told in the form of a scrapbook. Pulling from her own extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera and memorabilia, the author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, and two other acclaimed novels, Gatsby’s Girl and Lucy Crocker 2.0, creates the first ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt. In THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT we see an enticing array of flapper-era postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and other memorabilia featured on each and every page. Through these visuals, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love."

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline Preston is the author of three previous novels, Jackie by Josie (a New York Times Notable Book), Lucy Crocker 2.0, and Gatsby’s Girl. She has collected antique scrapbooks since she was in high school, and has become an expert on the history of the scrapbook and the valentine in America. She has worked as an archivist at the Peabody/ Essex Museum and Harvard’s Houghton Library. She and her husband, the writer Christopher Tilghman, live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For Triangle Residents, here are the dates Caroline will be visiting during her book tour:

720 9th Street
Durham, North Carolina 27705
Main Phone: 919-286-2700

752 MLK Junior Boulevard
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

220 Market Street
Fearrington Village
Pittsboro, North Carolina 27312

Disclosure:  I received a copy of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt for review purposes.  I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review.  For more information on this blog and my posting practices,. please refer to the disclosure policy posted at the bottom of this page.


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