REVIEW: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

Well! I’ve been pretty terrible at posting lately, sorry about that lovely readers! But I’ve been reading, and that’s really what matters, right?

Because my family loves me, they get me books for Christmas. This next book is from this year, gifted to me by my cousin.

The first time I saw The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto in a store, I squealed. Mitch Albom, the book’s author, is one of my no-matter-what authors. When I see he’s got a new book out, I’m usually jonesing to read it. I’ve missed a couple over the years, but I always get around to them. I first read him after my best friend gave me his novel The Five People you Meet in Heaven for Christmas when I was in college. I immediately fell in love – I know I’ve mentioned on here a few times how much I love that novel.

Then I read his memoir, Tuesdays with Morrie, and realized that Albom was absolutely not a one hit wonder.

So yeah, learning of Frankie Presto was pretty exciting.

REVIEW: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Mitch Albom
Published: 2015
Length: 489

Plot: Narrated by the voice of Music, this novel tells the story of Frankie Presto, Music’s most beloved disciple. After dying mysteriously, we learn how Frankie’s life began, as an orphan in Spain and journey with those he knew to see how his life ended the way it did.

Most Memorable Line(s): “Truth is light. Lies are shadows. Music is both.”

What I liked: First, I loved the concept! It reminded me so much of The Book Thief. Having an abstract figure, in this case Music, gave such an interesting outsider perspective to Frankie’s story, because the narrator was an unseen yet opinionated character. At first I was confused by the progression of the story, but it ended up becoming one of my favorite things. The interspersing of real musicians’ voices in “interviews” was a really, really interesting way to do the story. It was a perfect way to make Frankie’s story feel even more real and more impactful. I loved the way the story jumped around; it felt very natural. When someone tells a story, they often jump from point to point, rather than going in a perfect, straight progression. I also felt Albom did a great job of not making things too simple. While I didn’t like one character (see below), I loved how I couldn’t exactly figure out what was going to happen and who Frankie was going to see and meet throughout his years. Also, really loved the Ingrid Michaelson shout out – go Bearcats! 🙂 Overall, this book was really creative and Frankie was someone I really, really wanted to root for and see succeed. That’s always nice, to enjoy the main character.

What I didn’t like: So the one thing that I dislike about Mitch Albom books in general is their preachy nature. I have no problem with learning through books; in fact, I think it’s pretty impossible not to learn something from a book you’ve read. But Albom, in my opinion, can take it too far. In this book, it was Music’s opinions of vices, essentially. When the narrator repeatedly talked about how silly it is to try drugs or drink to “find” music, I wanted to yell into the pages ‘I get it! Drinking and drugs are bad!’ It really just seemed unnecessary at times to the point where I was actually distracted by the story. But again, that’s Albom. With the exception of Five People, all of his books have seemed that way to me. I also felt a little annoyed at the way this book so perfectly wrapped itself up. The reintroduction of the nun character was a little jarring in a bad way for me.

Grade: 7.5/10


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