The backstory: I've been eagerly awaiting Caroline Preston's latest novel since I first heard about it.
The basics: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is, aptly, a scrapbook Frankie Pratt has made of her life. It's a novel in pictures, but not quite a graphic novel. Preston's words are as illuminating as the objects she pairs them with. Amazon allows you to download a sample, and it is worth seeing for yourself.
My thoughts: I've enjoyed all of Caroline Preston's previous books, which are all so different, and this one is certainly no exception. I devoured this historical scrapbook even as I savored it. I could not wait to see where Frankie's adventures would take us, yet I hesitated to turn the pages because there was so much visual treasure to explore. In many ways it's a difficult novel to write about because the writing, which is quite strong, is not the star of the novel. It's a visual delight with remarkable depth and character development.
The verdict: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a fascinating, unique and deeply affecting story of a woman. Frankie is a fascinating historical figure who led an interesting life; she's a character I will think of for years to come.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 240 pages
Publication date: October 25, 2011
Source: I bought it (and bought a copy for my mother too)
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