Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

magicstringsBook: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
Author: Mitch Albom
Rating: 4 Stars

Basic plot: Detailing the life of superstar musician, Frankie Presto… his ups and downs… tragedies and triumphs. He travels everywhere with his guitar from his maestro. And then, one day, one of the strings turns blue. That’s when he realizes that his life is affecting those around him.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) The narrator is “Music”. I liked how Music is able to give us details of the story that even Frankie himself doesn’t know. I also like the musical lingo and refrains. “Everybody joins a band in this life…”

2) Aurora and Frankie. I won’t give out spoilers here.

3) The rogue’s gallery of real-life musicians and performers. In a way, this book reminded me of Forrest Gump. Now I didn’t care too much for that movie, because I felt the coupling of real events with Forrest’s life was forced. I did not feel the same way with this book. Not every event is Frankie “doin’ Elvis”. There was just enough to make it seem real and legit. Well done, Mr. Albom!

4) Lyle and his friends. I wasn’t sure at first about this little thread, but I loved how that turned out. 🙂

5) The Woodstock story interspersed with other stories. I thought it was well done. A nice twist with Aurora that I was not expecting!

6) **SPOILER ALERT: The daughter. I love the connection made later on with regards to his own adopted father and his rejection of him. And then the realization that you can truly love a child who is not biologically yours. As Frankie loves Kai. END SPOILER**

7) El Maestro.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) **SPOILER ALERT: The final revelation of his death. I felt this was a tiny bit anti-climatic. I was expecting something disastrous and awful, and it wasn’t. Part of me is glad, because I didn’t want him murdered spectacularly, but I still have mixed feelings about the ending. END SPOILER**

2) The aunt in Detroit. I felt this scene was almost unnecessary. Almost. What I didn’t like about it is how quick it is. How does Frankie come to even understand everything she tells him? I feel that in real life, Frankie would need a longer time with them to grasp the reality that there is no way his “father” could be his father.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I really enjoyed this book! The real musicians mixed in with the fiction. I thought it was well done.

Review: How Nancy Drew Saved My Life

41G6qx0cmCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Book: How Nancy Drew Saved My Life
Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
My Rating: 1 Star

I’ve had one of those throw-down-the-book-in-disgust moments. The book in question? How Nancy Drew Saved My Life. I had read a short essay by the author and wanted to try one of her novels. I guess I picked it out for sentimental reasons; I loved Nancy Drew as a kid.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) The cover. It’s whimsical. I like it.

2) The main character (a nanny/governess) is named Charlotte Bell. If you are a real Charlotte Bronte fan, you will realize this is a combination of Bronte’s first name and her pseudonym Currer Bell. Now, I didn’t realize the Jane Eyre influence when I first picked up the book, but it’s there. In fact, the story line has more to do with Jane Eyre than it does with Nancy Drew. I love Jane Eyre! So this was a very pleasant discovery that made me happy.

But that’s where the pleasantness ended. (At least for me.)

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I found the book to be borderline blasphemous. An example of this was the repeated use of the term WWNDD (What Would Nancy Drew Do). IMHO, that is just clever… in the **wrong** way!

2) Actually, I found myself skimming a lot. The main character spends far too much time in bed (and she’s not alone in bed either). For a character based on Jane Eyre, it goes against everything Jane stands for. Jane would be horrified.

3) SPOILER HERE: By the end of the book, Charlotte’s pregnant (Hmm. That would NEVER have happened to Jane Eyre!). There seem to be no realistic consequences for Charlotte. It’s like the author is saying, “Good for you, Charlotte. This baby will solve all your loneliness issues!” She never even takes into account that she’s single and will have to provide for this baby… in New York City, no less, which is one expensive place to live! And she doesn’t even have her nanny job anymore! (Although the book hints that she may get back together with the baby’s father, even though he’s not yet divorced from his wife). END SPOILER.

4) I couldn’t really tell you how Nancy Drew Saved Her Life.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book had so much potential. I wanted to like it. But I can only give it 1 Star. And that’s mostly for the cover artwork. 😦