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Review: ‘The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt’ by Caroline Preston

Review: ‘The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt’ by Caroline Preston post image

Title: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
Author: Caroline Preston
Genre: Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Year: 2011
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★½☆

Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a perfect example of a book where an innovative approach to storytelling takes an otherwise pretty traditional story and makes it into something special. In this case, author Caroline Preston uses an extensive collection of vintage memorabilia to create a vintage Smash Book for a young woman coming of age in the turbulent 1920s.

At the opening of the book, our heroine, Frankie Pratt, is a new high school graduate contemplating her future. For a graduation present, her widowed mother gives Frankie a scrapbook and her father’s old typewriter. Although Frankie has a scholarship to Vassar, she has to turn down the offer to stay hope and help her mother on the farm. After an innocent affair puts Frankie’s reputation on the line, her mother finds her way to send Frankie to college. At Vassar, Frankie meets luminaries of the time period and continues to try and find her calling, first in New York, then Paris, and finally in what seemed like the most unlikely place of all.

Like I said, the plot of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a pretty simple one. In novel format, I doubt this book would have been anything to write home about. But the way Preston incorporates a host of vintage pieces — everything from letters to postcards to fashion spreads to candy wrappers — gives the book so much character. As I read, I was torn between wanting to savor every page and speed ahead to find out what cool new pieces Frankie was going to put in her book.

I also loved the way Preston seemed to effortlessly meld the different pieces together. For being a book put together by an author years later, the book feels almost entirely authentic. It’s fascinating. On her website, Preston talks about her love for vintage ephemera and how she had to collect over 600 difference pieces to put Frankie’s story together. She even used an actual 1915 Corona Portable typewriter to type out the notes Frankie inserts — how cool is that?

If you can find a copy of this book to, at the very least, page through to check out the beautiful illustrations, I highly recommend doing so. The story isn’t amazing, but the way it’s told make this book shine.

Other Reviews: Just One More Page… |

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) February 6, 2012, 8:29 am

    I thought the book felt authentic too. I just loved it.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:43 pm

      It was charming!

  • Andi (Estella's Revenge) February 6, 2012, 12:59 pm

    I love books like this that are innovatively told. Will get around to this one someday!

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:46 pm

      It’s a pretty quick read, just because there are so many pictures and whatnot.

  • Jenny February 6, 2012, 7:27 pm

    Oh how cool! I’m adding this to my list straightaway, I am unable to resist books that do stuff like this! It always feels like reading The Jolly Postman in adult form. :p

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:46 pm

      Oh my god. I LOVED The Jolly Postman when I was a kid. That was such an amazing book.

  • softdrink February 6, 2012, 9:27 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised by how much story there actually was…I was thinking it would mostly be pretty pictures.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:47 pm

      It’s really cool the way the story and memorabilia go together. She does tell a nice coming-of-age story through the book.

  • Trisha February 6, 2012, 11:16 pm

    I do like this style of storytelling, so I will definitely check it out.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:47 pm


  • Anna February 7, 2012, 10:26 am

    This book was a lot of fun, and you’re right, that the scrapbook aspect really makes the story. I can see myself picking up this book again just to look at all the memorabilia.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:47 pm

      Oh definitely. This is a book I’d love to go back through and explore again.

  • Liz February 10, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Hi there – I loved this book as well, and would like to kudos to whoever reviewed it on whichever blog.

    Oh well. I reviewed it on my blog which is below:

    I will go ahead and add your review to mine. (Love your blog, btw. Good sense of humor.)


    • Kim February 22, 2012, 7:21 pm

      Thanks for leaving a link to your review Liz!