Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Harper (November 10, 2015)
Mitch Albom creates his most unforgettable character–Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist ever to walk the earth–in this magical novel about the power of talent to change our lives.
In Mitch Albom’s epic new novel, the voice of Music narrates the tale of its most beloved disciple, Frankie Presto, a Spanish war orphan raised by a blind music teacher. At nine years old, Frankie is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six magical strings.
But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and it weaves him through the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll. Along the way, Frankie influences many artists: he translates for Django Reinhardt, advises Little Richard, backs up Elvis Presley, and counsels Hank Williams.
Frankie elevates to a rock star himself, yet his gift becomes his burden, as he realizes that he can actually affect people’s futures: his guitar strings turn blue whenever a life is altered. Overwhelmed by life, loss, and this power, he disappears for years, only to reemerge in a spectacular and mysterious farewell.
With its Forrest Gump-like journey through the music world, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a classic in the making. A lifelong musician himself, Mitch Albom delivers an unforgettable story. “Everyone joins a band in this life,” he observes, be it through music, family, friends, or lovers. And those connections change the world.
As soon as I read that this book was narrated Music and is about a musician whose music can change lives I knew I had to read it. This novel is a bit long and I felt like there was plenty that could be cut out–particularly at the beginning. I felt like the reader would have been able to gain an understanding of where Frankie came from with a lot less detail. I was interested in reading about Frankie’s life as this famous musician who was changing lives with his guitar strings, not about his life as a baby and a young child. That being said, the overview of his life really added to an almost documentary-like feel to the novel.
I never really felt a connection to Frankie or any of the other characters. I think this is due, in large part, to the fact that Music is the narrator of the story. Interspersed throughout the narration were “monologues” by different (real life) music talents, in which they discussed their memories of Frankie. These snippets combined with Music’s narration gave the book a documentary-like feel, which I thought was fitting for this particular story. I loved the feel of the novel, so I didn’t mind that there was no connection at all.
Even though this book was a little long, it really gripped me toward the end and I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to see how everything would come together! I loved Music as a narrator and how music was incorporated throughout the storytelling. This was a fascinating story and one that I really appreciated reading, even if it didn’t have me turning pages throughout.
Mitch Albom is a bestselling novelist, a screen-writer, a playwright, and an award-winning journalist. He is the author of six consecutive number-one New York Times bestsellers and has sold more than thirty-four million copies of his books in forty-two languages worldwide. Tuesdays with Morrie, which spent four years atop the New York Times list, is the bestselling memoir of all time.
Albom has founded seven charities, including the first-ever full-time medical clinic for homeless children in America. He also operates an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He lives with his wife, Janine, in suburban Detroit.