Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Freebie: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Congratulations to Lauren Roberts, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin.

As part of last week's contest, I asked readers to name their favorite Dickens novel.  Here are the results of that unscientific poll, in order starting with the top vote-getters:
Great Expectations
Bleak House
Our Mutual Friend
A Tale of Two Cities
Nicholas Nickleby
Oliver Twist
David Copperfield
A Christmas Carol

This week's book giveaway is The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston, which is among the best fiction I read all year.  It's certainly the most unique novel, telling the story of a Jazz Age ingenue almost entirely through her scrapbook.  Ecco Books has gone all out in the production of this book, recreating scrapbook pages filled with items like magazine ads, candy bar wrappers, college pennants, dried flowers, and many other artifacts of 1920s pop culture.  You can read my full review here.  Other reviewers agreed with me that Preston's novel is a marvelous treasure to be found in the midst of the e-book revolution.  Here's what NPR had to say about The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt:
Preston has stuffed her account of a 1920s flapper-in-the-making full of treasures, from scanned images of vintage tarot cards and bits of lace and lizard skin to Parisian maps and ticket stubs from Coney Island. The concept is a simple one — young girl from New Hampshire goes to Vassar in 1920, finds herself as a writer in Greenwich Village in 1924, moves to Paris in 1926, and returns home to America to find a husband in 1927. It is a plot that cribs from Fitzgerald's novels and Jazz Age stories, A Moveable Feast, Thoroughly Modern Millie and, most recently, from Woody Allen. But the narrative is neither the hook nor the driving force of the novel. What Preston has created is historian's catnip; a tale of the Roaring '20s illustrated in the dazzling language of trinkets and baubles, strung together by the typewritten words of a bubbly every-girl.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, all you have to do is answer this question:

The genesis of the novel began when Caroline Preston was digging through boxes of keepsakes in her mother's attic and found, among other things, marked-up pages from a novel sent to her grandmother from Sylvia Beach.  What is the name of that famous and controversial novel?  (You can find the answer on Preston's website.)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Dec. 15--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Dec. 16.


  1. It would be a wonderful gift for almost anyone: a fan of the 20's, people who love to read of the trials and triumphs of youth, teenagers (even boys), scrapbookers, and perhaps most surprisingly, scholars of the period or of ephemera and material culture.

  2. The combination creates a compelling story, complete with secondary characters (and even a wonderful subplot involving a prince) and makes "The Diary of Frankie Pratt" a very fun read.

    One Hour Device