The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures
Frankie Pratt’s mother gives her a scrapbook as a high school graduation gift. She finds her late father’s typewriter in the family’s attic and begins to chronicle her young adulthood, complete with colorful clippings and photographs. Frankie lives in a rustic farmhouse in rural New Hampshire, but her dreams take her far away. Through the pictures and text in her scrapbook, we follow her ill-fated romance with a World War I veteran, her enrollment at Vassar College, her expat years in Paris, and, finally, her discovery of true love in a most unexpected place.
Preston lets the pictures tell the story – the text consists mainly of diary-style entries, very few of which are longer than a paragraph. She has a curator’s eye for interesting artifacts, which is unsurprising given her professional background as an archivist. But the artifacts aren’t merely presented for their archival or historical value – each plays a role in telling Frankie’s uniquely American story. The combination of Frankie’s pluck and spirit, the much-beloved time period of the Roaring Twenties, and the colorful presentation made this a surprisingly enjoyable combination of art and narrative.