Archive | November, 2011

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a gloriously whimsical graphic novel for grown-ups

15 Nov

Antique scrapbook collector and author of Jackie by Josie Caroline Preston has delved into her impressive haul of vintage memorabilia to create the world’s first ever scrapbook novel. Released this week (the 20th of November.. prepare to advance order), The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt charts the coming-of-age of feisty flapper girl Frankie, a small-town student who is given a scrapbook to celebrate her graduation. Over the next few years she experiences heartbreak, freedom, disappointment and success, and has the scrapbook and an old Corona typewriter on hand to record every moment.

The Facts

1. Oliver does love me, but it’s love without passion. (Could only kiss me when he was drunk!)

2. At heart, I’m just like all those Vassar girls who only want rings on their fingers. 

3. I say I want to be a writer, but all I’ve done so far is write True Stories. 

4. It’s time for a drastic change!

Scrapbooks were a popular way of writing diaries in the 20s – Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were known to be fans – and Frankie’s really is top notch. Including everything from magazine cut-outs and sweet wrappers to old ticket-stubs, antique posters, postcards and Cracker Jack charms, it sweeps you up into the realms of nostalgia and gives a strange kind of tangibility to the bygone era. With references to aforementioned Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Edna St. Vincent Millay and James Joyce, it’s a full-colour, sense-bashing stomp through the 1920s literary scene.

But perhaps the most impressive thing about the scrapbook is the fact that its gorgeousness never detracts from the plot. Frankie’s voice is delightfully fresh, her innocent witticisms and determined attitude drawing her out to be a well-rounded and spirited protagonist you can’t help but love. The female characters are brilliant – I especially liked ‘spinster adventuress’ Lorraine Root and the beautiful, clued-up Allegra Wolf. And whilst I felt the ending was perhaps a tad too neatly tied up, it does fit in well with the whimsical storyline, and I don’t think anyone would begrudge Frankie a happy ending.

With Baz Lurham’s forthcoming Great Gatsby film adaptation and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris harking back to the bohemian glamour of the ‘Lost Generation’, the 1920s has never been more in vogue. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt’s du jour subject matter coupled with its strong vintage aesthetics makes this scrapbook is a trend-ticking must-have, but its clever use of snippets of prose is what turns it into a real must-read.


Frankie Cocozza gets booted off X Factor- but who’s laughing now??

9 Nov

<book free zone…>

So, the biggest news in today’s tabloids is that wannabe rock star Frankie Cocozza has been booted off the X Factor after allegedly boasting about ‘cocaine-fuelled sex sessions’. For anyone who’s managed to stay an X Factor free zone (HOW DO YOU DO IT? You should write a self-help book), Frankie, he-of-big-hair-and-tight-trouser, was rubbish at singing but good at being a LAD. X Factor producers hyped him up as a loveable rogue type character, constantly going on about his party animal lifestyle and eye for the laydeez. You sort of hated him but couldn’t tear your eyes away. A kind of skinny jean clad car crash, if you will.


Anyway so apparently enough was enough over the weekend (Dermot announced to the world that Frankie had had just half an hour’s sleep the night before), and along come The Boot. Daybreak was typically Daily Mail about the whole thing this morning and spent a good twenty minutes ranting on about ‘wasted opportunities’ and the importance of positive role models on TV blah blah blah. I especially enjoyed one comment that Frankie’s debauched behaviour was perhaps a knock-on effect of Amy Winehouse’s legacy. Um, yeah, because she’s done SO well out of that one hasn’t she (kind of would explain Frankie’s hair though, i suppose?).

Anyway, I can’t help but think getting booted off the show in a blaze of controversy is so much better for your career/ general infamy than just plain old getting-voted-out-cos-like-no-one-likes-you. I like to think that Cocozza is sitting at home in a smoking jacket sipping a fine merlot and rubbing his fingers together with glee at the success of his media strategy. He was NEVER going to win X Factor. And that, strangely enough, was his strong point. With the exemptions of Leona and Alexandra Burke, I can hardly remember any of the X Factor winners; the runners-up do much better and seem to somehow maintain an inch more credibility (I’m thinking JLS). It’s not rock n roll to go on a reality TV show, but wouldn’t you rather be remembered for being a bit of d*ck than completely forgotten? Plus, think of the redemption possibilities.. a book deal, career as a life coach, TV presenter (hey, if Richard Bacon’s still at it…).

In one live show, Frankie sang The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’. He might not get to discover the answer from the audience, but now he’s able to charge £3,000 for a personal nightclub appearance, I imagine he really doesn’t give a sh*t. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is rock n roll.