Monday, December 19, 2011

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

It's a scrapbook.  It's a diary.  It's a novel.  What's not to like?

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt tells the story of a girl growing up in New Hampshire in the 1920s.  She is a bright girl, but her family doesn't have much money since her father died, so when she is accepted at Vassar College with a partial scholarship, she turns it down, knowing what a financial burden it would be on her mother, who works as a night nurse, to pay the rest of her tuition.  However, events conspire to enable her to accept the scholarship, following a most disappointing experience in love, and she sets off to gain an education and follow her dream of becoming a writer.

The story is told through text, photographs, old-time advertisements and magazine clippings, and is filled with authentic memorabilia such as ticket stubs, menus, greeting and post cards, and photographs. Throughout the book Frankie's strong and honest voice shines through.  She makes mistakes, suffers disappointments, celebrates victories,documenting everything faithfully in the pages of her colorful scrapbook.

This book would make an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys scrap-booking, and it's also a wonderful look at life in the U.S. and Paris during the 20s.  I'd recommend this to teens as well - it's a great coming-of-age story, and the historical details are fascinating. The list of clothing required for girls at Vassar College, for example, was hilarious. My grandmother lived and went to college during this time period, and it was fun to imagine her having some of these same experiences as Frankie. Although it made me wish I'd asked her more questions about that time in her life.

At any rate, this is a delightful story that is told in a unique way, and I highly recommend it.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (HarperCollins, 2011)


  1. I plan to buy this book with my Christmas gift cards. :)

  2. Glad to see you enjoyed this book as much as I did!

  3. This sounds wonderful! Everything I love, all in one book!

  4. this style of storytelling would annoy the hell out of me - read Maus the graphic novel for old book club and it was hard. Guess I'm just a traditionalist at heart.
    Picked up Ruined at a book fair - you reviewed it and I've wanted to read it ever since!

  5. Kailana - I borrowed this from a friend, but I may end up buying it for myself, too. Aren't gift cards the best?

    Anna - I really did!

    Nicola - I think you'll love this one. Can't wait to hear what you think!

    VA Gal - This is very different from a graphic novel - and WAY different from a book like Maus. I actually think you'd like this - the historical setting, the traveling to Europe, the cafes with expat American writers hanging out and gossiping - it's fun! I'll be interested to hear what you think of Ruined.


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