The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

Bits of material, a faded pressed rose, ticket stubs – memorabilia that instantly trigger an emotion.  Perhaps you have a scrapbook full of old pieces of your life that you reopen now and then.

In The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, Caroline Preston reveals her heroine’s life and the nineteen twenties era she lived through – with postcards, snips of old catalog ads, graduation announcements, candy wrappers, and more.

Who says you can’t tell a story without words?  Frankie’s high school graduation gifts are a scrapbook and her dead father’s Smith Corona typewriter; her dream is to become a writer.  As she grows from  “smartest girl in her class” to editor in a Paris magazine, Preston uses pictures – scraps actually – with captions to tell her story:

  • a seductive love affair with an older man that leads to a scholarship at Vassar,
  • her post-college apartment in Greenwich Village from the recommendation of Edna St. Vincent Millay (a fellow alum),
  • an escape from unrequited love that sends her to Paris and an apartment over the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore of James Joyce, and an old flame rekindled –
  • until finally returning home to nurse her mother from tuberculosis and finding true love “in her own back yard.”

As Preston reveals Frankie’s coming of age tale, she offers full-page collages that include fashion, furniture, vintage ads, photos and sketches from the twenties with a sprinkling of short dialogue at appropriate junctures.

A romantic tale full of history and nostalgia – a picture book for adults.

Look inside The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt at Preston’s website – here

9 thoughts on “The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

  1. I attended a workshop and reading with Caroline Preston last week. It was really interesting.

  2. This is next on my reading list. I will be attending a workshop with Caroline Preston in February and will be curious to hear her thoughts on this project.

  3. Great review of a really interesting book! I was just reading about this project the other day. It’s so amazing that she actually collected all of these items rather than just finding images of them online. Do the items thesmelves tell the story, or are there large blocks of text tying them together?

    • It’s a combination. The items have captions, just as you would see in a real scrapbook, and sometimes she includes snips of dialogue. If you click on the sample at the bottom of the post, you’ll be able to read a few pages. It really is not like anything I’ve read before.

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