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.

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2 Responses to “The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a gloriously whimsical graphic novel for grown-ups”

  1. Vasilly November 16, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    I think you are so right about this book. The pictures and words went together perfectly. I can’t wait to read the author’s next scrapbook novel.

  2. Alex Rister November 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Great review, and I completely agree! I love your point at the end about the 1920s being in vogue in pop culture. What do you think about the Great Gatsby film adaptation? I find myself wondering how it will translate to the big screen… It’s one of my favorites.

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