Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Book Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Read: April 2-5  Verdict: 4.5 Stars

There's something about Mitch Albom's writing that is so beautiful and magical, I could just bathe in all the words.

Frankie Presto was once one of the greats and rubbed shoulders with Elvis, Hank Williams, Django Reinhardt and Darlene Love.He was born in the middle of Franco's dictatorship of Spain and found his way through America. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto starts with the death of Frankie and we make our way to the start of his story, who he was, how he learned to play the guitar like he did and who gifted him the magic strings that turn blue when he changes someone's life with his music.

I think this is a must-read for anyone who loved The Book Thief. Instead of Germany in WW2, we have Spain in the late 1940s. Instead of book-loving Liesel, we have music-loving Francisco. And instead of being told by Death, Frankie's story is told by Music. Yeah, you read that right. Music is a being, an all-seeing entity in this book. It gives a piece of him to newborns to create music during their lives and when they die, it takes it back.

“All humans are musical.
Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?”

I'm not huge into music but even I was fascinated the way Mitch Albom was able to place Frankie Presto into the time of Elvis and Johnny Cash and weave him into the lives of other famous musicians. Presto meets Django Reinhardt, Hank Williams, Elvis, Darlene Love, Roger McGuin, Lyle Lovett, Tony Bennett over the course of his life and we find out how he rose and fell in the limelight and why he stepped out of it altogether but was never forgotten by fellow artists and fans of great music.

This was such an amazing story of an amazing life, and you would almost believe Presto was a real person in this era. You're almost sad that he wasn't a real person! There were real heartbreaking moments in this one - Francisco looking for Baffa at the factory, when he meets his aunt and screeched 'momma', his lost moments at Woodstock, the last song he sings to Aurora...there are so many wonderful moments that really gripped me.

I'm taking away a .5 of a star just because near the end some of Frankie's actions annoyed me a bit and I was ready for the story to start winding up. But I thoroughly enjoyed this one for the most part and Mitch Albom has proven to be again that he can cast me under a spell with his words. Wonderful.

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