The Scrapbook Of Frankie Pratt

“I always win at Authors.  That’s because all these books are in Daddy’s library.  After he died, I made a vow to read every single one.  And I did, by the time I turned 15.” (page 14)

I love collecting vintage ephemera!  I keep the items I find stored away in boxes and albums but I know a lot of people like to use them in art journals and scrapbooks.  And as Caroline Preston demonstrates, they can be turned into an excellent novel.

scrapbook of frankie prattIn The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, Caroline Preston has used her own vintage ephemera collection to create the first scrapbook novel.  In it the heroine Frankie Pratt diligently documents her life in her scrapbook: from the tough decisions she has to make about college, her career and love to highlighting the people and places she comes across.

“Mother hands me a card with $400.  It must have taken her 2 years to save so much.
Something to help you get started in your new life, she says.” (page 85) 


I read this straight through in just a few hours after I bought it, but since then I just like to pick it up and flip through it every once and awhile. I’m always spotting something I hadn’t noticed before and each new detail just adds to the overall charm of the story.

From The Cover: For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter.  Despite Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau.

Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket snubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love.  Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them “Vincent” (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a “spinster adventuress” who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau.  In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne’er-do-well captain from her past reappear.  But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.

Just One More Thing:

This Edition: Hardback published by HarperCollins (2011)

Other Books By Caroline Preston: Jackie By Josie, Gatsby’s Girl, Lucy Croker 2.0

You Might Also Like: Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock


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