The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is an odd but rewarding experiment, a “novel in pictures” that tells its story through captioned vintage images, over 600 pieces of memorabilia in all. The book’s trailer pretends to show the construction of the scrapbook.
It’s about Frankie Pratt, an 18-year-old New Hampshire village girl in 1920 who wants to be a writer. As she grows up, she attends Vassar, struggles in Greenwich Village, and runs away to Paris to heal a broken heart. It’s great fun to read, with the added thrill of feeling like you’re seeing someone’s diary, with pictures.
Author Caroline Preston knows her history, and the glimpses of daily life are illuminating — having to eat only what you grow or raise yourself and making your own clothes in a world that’s beginning to be affected by mass marketing and media-created dreams. Until I read this, I couldn’t imagine what it was like to go to college with a prescribed wardrobe and such restrictive, protective rules.
Preston’s next “scrapbook novel” is planned to tell the story of a bride’s first year of marriage from 1959-1960. I’m eager to see it. (The publisher provided a review copy.)