About The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Harper (November 10, 2015)
I am sure you have heard of Mitch Ablom and even read some of his books. My favorite is Tuesdays with Morrie. He has also written For One More Day and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It seems to me like it has been quite a while since Mr. Ablom has published a new book. If you have been waiting, then wait no more. He has written a new book entitled The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, and it is coming to a book store near you in the very near future.
How did I get an advance preview? I was lucky enough to be asked by a publishing company to review the book and write a review. I am grateful when I am asked to read an advance copy and then tell about it. So thank you TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this new book.
Frankie Presto – who is he? Why does he have magic strings? What is the story about? I’ll give you a brief intro into a very complicated character and a story that holds key elements until the end. The author wove a complex story with a couple of questions that leave you burning for the answer. Don’t worry. I won’t give them away. But let me tell you that as I read this book I kept searching for the answers to the puzzle. Mr. Ablom was a master at giving little details and then moving on to another subject leaving you anxious to find the answers.
I will admit that it took me a few pages to really get into the book, but once the story moved to the guitar lessons of El Maestro, I found that I really liked it. Frankie is a blue-eyed boy born in Villareal, Spain. We wouldn’t know about Frankie if he hadn’t been dragged out of a river by a hairless dog. Sounds weird and interesting at the same time, right? Spain is at war with itself. Churches are being burned. The army is ruthless. Frankie is born in a Catholic Church as the army sets fire to the building. He is taken from the church by an unknown woman we know as his mother. Francisco (Frankie) has a problem. He cries too much and at a high volume. They are poor and his mother has a hard time feeding them. She gets tired of him, his crying, and the neighbor’s complaining to shut the child up. She reaches the breaking point and throws him in the river. No infant can survive that, yet he does. He is rescued by a hairless dog who pulls on his blanket and drags him to shore. Senor Buffo owns that hairless dog and he takes pity on Frankie and takes him into his home. As Frankie gets a bit older Senor Buffo would like him to learn a musical instrument. Too small for the piano, he begins guitar lessons with a grumpy, alcoholic, blind man who used to make magic with his playing.
For a year El Maestro doesn’t even let him touch a guitar, but instead gripes at him. What Frankie doesn’t know is that he is learning lessons that will help him last a lifetime. Finally, he is given a chance to hold a guitar in his hands. His hands are too small, so he is started on an instrument the size of a ukulele. Under his teacher’s care he learns to love music and to play with passion. World War II comes to Spain and Franco imposes limits on what people can do, where they can go, and what music they can play. People are dragged out of their homes and shot for no reason; ones that makes sense anyway.
El Maestro finally sends him to America for his safety since Senor Buffo has been rounded up and put into prison for 12 years. Frankie has promised he will never return to Spain because of all the pain and lies there. Frankie plays with the best of the best during his lifetime and he entrances all the masters with his guitar music and his voice. Frankie works with Elvis, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Lyle Lovett, Little Richard, auditions for KISS, and plays at Woodstock. The list goes on. He goes from no one to someone big and famous. He has all the girls he can handle, all the money, and fame. He marries his English sweetheart and it is a rocky road. Frankie forgets about his guitar for the most part and becomes what his manager wants him to be.
He goes from stardom to the cellar. He never gives up his guitar playing completely and finds in this his ability to heal himself and others.
Mr. Ablom uses Music to tell the story. Music is one of the muses and this muse talks about the beauties of music and its power versus the stupid things humans do. He also used the voices of famous people who have known Frankie and are interviewed at Frankie’s funeral. Each one shares a different facet of who Frankie Presto really was.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Really, I loved the voice of Music. So wise and instructive. Using Music as the narrator was brilliant.
I would give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 just because it took me a while to get into the story. Once I got to that point, the rest of the story rocked.
Heard any good music lately? Happy Reading!
About Mitch Albom
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.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.