The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
REVIEW BY NICKY
This book has so many elements that fall into my “favorites” category: scrapbooking, art, journaling, the 20s, flappers, New York City, Paris, etc. This was a very new and unique concept among YA books, so it has been circulating a lot in my library and is often recommended through word-of-mouth.
The story is told through the journal of Frankie Pratt, a bright young girl about to graduate from high school. She receives a scholarship from Vassar, but her widowed mother is unable to come up with the remaining portion of the tuition. After a brief romance with a young man, Captain James, Frankie is able to go to Vassar after her mother ingeniously comes up with the money. Once at Vassar, Frankie is immersed in a world of wealth, privilege, and intellectuals. Her degree and her writing experience take her to New York City upon her college graduation, and then we follow the adventurous young woman to Paris and the exciting life of are, expatriates, and cafes, where she, once again, crosses paths with the handsome Captain James.
There is quite a lot of story here, despite the text actually appearing in snippets on the page—surrounded by art, photographs, and memorabilia. Surprisingly, the images on the page do not draw your attention away from the story, which is a testament to Preston’s story-telling ability. However, I did become so involved in Frankie’s story, that I find myself wanting to go back to the book to actually look at all the scrapbook elements on the pages. Despite my joy at having found such a unique gem of a book, I was somewhat disappointed in the end. *****SPOILER ALERT***** I admit to feeling somewhat disappointed that, with her education and writing talent, and after all of her adventures in exciting cities, Frankie comes back to her hometown to “settle down” and marry a high school beau. I picture Frankie married to the young doctor, staying at home, caring for her mother and a brood of children. I am not saying there isn’t honor or happiness to be found in such a life (one that sounds quite a bit like mine—one I am quite happy with), but it just seems to me that Frankie’s character would have been discontent with such complacency.