A brief teaser from the publisher:
“For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, and the reader follows her journey in search of success and love. This journey takes her from Vassar, to Greenwich Village, to Paris, and back to her small New England home again.”
This isn’t a graphic novel, which you might suppose from the subtitle; rather, this hardcover format novel is written in scrapbook form. There is no “photo-shop” manipulation here, every illustration in the novel is comprised of vintage material, text is typed (yes, with a manual typewriter … a 1918 Corona!), and affixed to the original scrapbook pages.
The author’s interest (obsession?) with collecting memorabilia began back when she was in high school, poring through her mother’s and grandmother’s scrapbooks. She went on to create her own personal scrapbooks, and parlayed her interest in preserving history by working as an archivist at the Peabody/Essex Museum and at Harvard.
Preston began her presentation with an entertaining slideshow display of some of the historic ephemera she collected while researching the novel. All kinds of material surfaced (much of it hunted down on ebay), helping Preston to create and support the Frankie Pratt character and her adventures:
- magazine ads
- ticket stubs
- catalog pages
- fabric swatches
- candy wrappers
- fashion spreads
She, of course, drafted her novel, then created the actual scrapbook pages that were used in producing the finished book. Preston carried the finished pages to her publisher (HarperCollins/Ecco) in a suitcase – can you imagine?!
In order to preserve the dimension of the scrapbook pages, they were photographed in the publisher’s studios; a scanner would have pushed the pages completely flat, eliminating much of the scrapbook “feel,” such as slight shadowing and clear layers.
Caroline Preston’s website is full of information about The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and its creation; the book trailer is wonderful, but avoid it until after you’ve read the novel (lots of plot info in it). She is also the author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie.