The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston is just that, a scrapbook of a young woman in the 1920s who is striving to make something more of her life than simply becoming a wife and mother.  Following WWI, many things have changed as women seek greater liberty from their “normal” lives — seeking suffrage, going to college, having careers.  Of course, there are boys and men because women always seek companionship, but educated women are looking for equals in a relationship, not a child to care for and guide.

Frankie Pratt has a deep sense of loyalty and responsibility to her mother, but at Vassar she becomes more independent and self-reliant after a few stumbles.  While this book is told through images and very little text, readers can see how Pratt grows from a naive young woman with big dreams into an educated woman with even bigger dreams.  It’s just plain fun to journey with Pratt from New Hampshire to Vassar College and from college to New York City and Paris.

Preston incorporates typewriter-written text among a variety of newspaper and magazine cut outs, paper dolls, photographs, and other elements to tell Pratt’s story.  The scrapbook creates a fairy tale like quality to the story, which is just how it should be given Pratt’s adventures.  One aspect of the book that’s missing is textured pages and more tactile scrapbooking materials or some semblance of that feeling readers would get with an actual scrapbook.  However, that’s a minor complaint given that the author easily captures readers’ hearts with little text and very visual pages.  The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston represents a snapshot of one young woman’s life at a time when things are quickly changing for women and the world.  It’s a little powerhouse of intimate moments that coax emotional attachment and pure joy.

About the Author:

Author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, Caroline Preston pulls from her extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera to create the first-ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt.

Check out this video about the making of the scrapbook.

This is my 73rd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.


  1. I’m glad you loved it as much as I did. Adding some texture would have been icing on the cake. I really loved how I got to know Frankie really well through a handful of pictures and a few lines of text.

  2. I read this over the weekend and loved it! I was worried it would be hard to follow along but I had no troubles at all. I thought it was a very unique way to tell a story.

  3. Serena, you are forever reading and talking about the books I wish I had the time to read. How do you do it? You have such great taste.

    • I honestly don’t know how I do it. Must be the time I have on weekends, though I suspect that it has something to do with the time I don’t spend writing. LOL I hope you find to read this one too…it really is fun!

  4. This book looks really tempting and I don’t think I can resist it any longer. I want to buy it! I hope it’s just as visual as watching a really good movie. I have high hopes for this book based on your review. I expect NOT to be disappointed. :)) Cheers!

  5. This is one that I am going to hunt down in B&N so I could look at the pages!!

  6. I loved this one too! I’ve been a fan of Preston since her first novel, and this one is such a beautiful departure, yet I’m thrilled to see so many bloggers embracing this author.

  7. I totally loved this book. I was amazed that so much was conveyed with so few words. I also really appreciated the women’s movement that Frankie was swept up in…such a great study of the times. I hear Preston is working on another chapter in Frankie’s life!

    • I like the impact this scrapbook can have on a reader even though it is mostly pictures. I had so much fun examining each page in detail. I think this is fantastic and I would love to see more of Frankie!

  8. I like the concept of this one. It’s gotten pretty good reviews too.

  9. This is one of my most anticipated novels of the year! I almost bought it the other day but decided to hold off in case I get it for Christmas!

  10. I just loved this book and was amazed at the depth of the story. Great review!

  11. Beth Hoffman says

    I’ve read so many wonderful reviews and can’t wait to dive into this one!

  12. The first time I heard of this book I wasn’t sure if the format was something I’d like…I keep seeing it reviewed though and all seem to have mostly positive comments…I’ll have to give this one a try…you’ve convinced me to add it to my WishList 🙂

  13. Wasn’t this such a fun book to read? I understand your desire to have more textures, but I was so charmed by the entire concept that I didn’t even think of that! And I can’t imagine what the cost would be!

    • I can’t imagine what the cost would be either, but it would have been nice. I think that’s just a minor complaint considering how lovely the book and the story was.


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