Reviews for Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt


Booklist Reviews 2011 December #2
Small-town girl Frankie wants to get out of New Hampshire, get an education, and become a writer. She becomes a class of 1924 student at Vassar, finds a job in New York, publishes a short story in Collier's, and then makes her way to Paris. There she re-meets her college roommate's interesting brother as well as a ne'er-do-well older man from her past. Frankie goes back home, however, when her widowed mother contracts tuberculosis, and there she finds true love. Preston's story follows a predictable romantic arc, but the scrapbook format turns it into a welcome variant on the historical romance genre. True to the medium, only events that give Frankie pause are recorded, but Preston manages to include her heroine's encounter with period anti-Semitism, homosexuality, and even fallen royalty without straining suspension of disbelief. The full-color scrapbook artifacts include typed captions, postcards, magazine ads, pressed flowers, tickets, letters, and annotated maps. A delight for readers of gentle historical romances, but also for crafters and those interested in the popular culture of the Roaring Twenties. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #2
Selecting from her own collection of period mementos, Preston (Gatsby's Girl, 2006, etc.) creates a literal scrapbook for a young New Hampshire woman coming of age in the 1920s. Frankie receives a blank scrapbook and her deceased father's typewriter as high-school graduation gifts and begins to record her adventures with the keepsakes she collects. Although Vassar offers Frankie a scholarship, Frankie still can't afford to attend college. Instead she takes a job caring for elderly Mrs. Pingree (see old debutante picture). The dowager's visiting nephew Jamie, a dashing, emotionally damaged World War I vet in his 30s, emotionally seduces 17-year-old Frankie (see his scribbled notes). When the not-yet-sexual affair is discovered, Mrs. Pingree gives Frankie a $1,000 check (see society-pages article about Jamie's wife). Soon Frankie heads off to Vassar, a haven of socialites and bluestockings (see bridge score card, pack of bobbed hair pins). Her rich, intellectual but neurotic Jewish roommate Allegra is a supportive friend until Frankie wins the literary prize (read snippet of Frankie's story about Jamie romance). After graduation, Frankie moves to Greenwich Village and finds a job at True Story. Allegra's brother Oliver, working at a new magazine called the New Yorker, becomes her constant companion. Though smart, kind and attentive (see admission tickets to movies, dancehalls, ballgames), he doesn't propose. When Frankie realizes why, she goes to Paris (see Cunard baggage sticker), where the past catches up with her and a whole new chapter of life starts. Lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2011 July #1

When she graduates from high school in 1920, Frankie gets a scrapbook and her father's old Corona, which keeps her busy at Vassar and thereafter, as she pursues a writing career and sails for France on the SS Mauritania. Her story is illustrated with various memorabilia appropriate to scrapbooking: vintage postcards, magazine ads, ticket stubs, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, menus, and more. Sounds charming, and Preston's Jack by Josie did well; the 40,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour are good news.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 August #5

The origin story behind this graphic novel-cum-scrapbook, the first illustrated work by Jackie by Josie novelist Preston, might be more interesting than the by-the-numbers tale of flappers and expatriates inside. Preston, once an archivist at Harvard's Houghton Library, collected more than 600 pieces of original 1920s materiel from antique stores and eBay sellers--Sears catalogues, amusement park tickets, commemorative badges, even a box of seasickness pills. In handsome, full-color pages, the memorabilia tell the story of Frankie, an aspiring writer who leaves her poor New England family to travel to Vassar, then to New York, then to Paris, where she becomes tangled in a romance with an older publisher with ties to her past. Frankie's Zelig-like ubiquity--of course she dates a man who works for the New Yorker at its launch, and of course in Paris she winds up editing James Joyce--makes for a nifty armchair tour of postwar literary culture, but the love stories at the book's center remain unsurprising and unmoving. In the end, this "novel in pictures" is best appreciated for its fetishistic attention to period detail; even the captions were typed on a vintage 1915 Corona portable typewriter. (Nov.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

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