I brought “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” on my trip to Italy, thinking that my days would be spent in our private villa, sipping Chianti, nibbling on prosciutto and provolone roll ups while combing through this 512-page book. Mitch Albom is one of my favorite authors, so even though the weight of the hardcover was intimidating, I was not deterred.
The trip kept me occupied, however, so I found myself opening the book for the first time on my plane ride home. I am happy to share that I read the entire thing in one sitting, breezed through 100-pages an hour. Although buckled in, I left my row mates behind and transcended to a place beyond the clouds.
Frankie Presto was an abandoned infant, grew up with no real understanding of his past but had an adequate childhood due to a few favorable guardians and mentors. His caretaker found Frankie a music teacher at a very young age to promote passion and discipline, and Frankie quickly fell in love with both music and his guitar. His instrument was a gift, and unbeknownst to him, the gift had magical powers.
Wartime adolescence had its struggles, and Frankie was soon displaced from the backdrop that he knew. The book picked up quickly and took the reader along on Frankie’s journey to uncover the story of his past, to find his way back home, and to come to know and understand music in a way that would classify him as one of the “greats.” Cameos of Lyle Lovett, Tony Bennett, and countless other artists add ‘pop culture flair’ to this fantastic narrative that is otherwise powerful and profound.
As I finished the last page, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief: Mitch Albom’s mind is masterful and I was utterly blown away by the depth and direction of his storyline.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5
BEST FOR: Adults who still believe in fairy tales. This is, without a doubt, best for those who have a few hours to spare. The coffee will grow cold, the laundry will remain in piles… Once you begin the journey, you’ll want to see it through.
NOT GOOD FOR: Cynics & Skeptics
IF THIS BOOK/ AUTHOR WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STEREOTYPE: This book is a musician’s muse: Anyone in band or with a passion for melodies and lyrics could easily fall in love with “The Magic Strings.”