Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Posted November 12, 2015 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch AlbomThe Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Published by HarperCollins on 2015-11-10
Length: 512 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss

Mitch Albom creates a magical world through his love of music in this remarkable new novel about the power of talent to change our lives

This is the epic story of Frankie Presto—the greatest guitar player who ever lived—and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings

Frankie, born in a burning church, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, until war rips his life apart. At nine years old, he is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. His amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, with his stunning playing and singing talent affecting numerous stars (Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley) until, as if predestined, he becomes a pop star himself.

He makes records. He is adored. But Frankie Presto’s gift is also his burden, as he realizes the power of the strings his teacher gave him, and how, through his music, he can actually affect people’s lives. At the height of his popularity, tortured by his biggest mistake, he vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, having finally healed his heart, does Frankie reappearjust before his spectacular death—to change one last life. With the Spirit of Music as our guide, we glimpse into the lives that were changed by one man whose strings could touch the music—and the magic—in each of us.

A lifelong musician, Mitch Albom’s passion shines through on every page. Written with an ear for rhythm and cadence, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a classic in the making. Heartrending and inventive, Albom’s latest is infused with the message that “everyone joins a band in this life”—and that music, like love, has the power to affect us all.


Initial Reaction:

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is written by one of my all-time favorite authors Mitch Albom. I’ve been raving about wanting/needing this book since I first heard about it a little over a year ago. Sadly, this is the first (and I hope only) time Albom has ever let me down. After making it roughly three-quarters of the way through I had to sit it down. I just wasn’t feeling the characters or the story. In fact I can barely recall what it was about.

Let me first explain what the book is about then I’ll tell you why I didn’t like it. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto follows the story of the title character after his untimely death on stage. Frankie Presto is a well-known guitarist and each string of his guitar has the ability to change someone’s life forever. Pretty cool concept right?

I loved the idea of a musician – in this case a guitarist – having the ability to change someone’s life through music. It was just cool! Pretty early in the novel you get a glimpse of this happening when Frankie stops a guy from beating up on a girl in a bar just by playing his guitar. Very cool, and I was hooked!

The narrator of the story is Music. Yes, music is an entity, kind of like a sentient being, granting people with the gift of music. He’s very interested in Frankie and Frankie’s untimely death. The story starts at his funeral, and music then begins to tell his story starting at the very beginning. In between music’s chapters are other chapters told from guests at the funeral so you get snippets of Frankie’s life out of order. This didn’t bother me so much because it was like you are really at the funeral and people are coming up and sharing stories about the deceased. Again cool!

So here’s the thing. Despite all the coolness of the book, it was boring. I kept waiting on the story to pick up, but it didn’t. It is very much a historical fiction as Frankie interacts with all these iconic rock and roll stars from the 50’s on. Again that part was cool, but I’m sorry to say, not for me. While the story revolves around the deceased Frankie Presto, I felt like I really didn’t know him. His character was flat and undefined. He had very little interaction with people other than to play his guitar.

I was SO disappointed! I adore Mitch Albom and I have since I first read his book Tuesdays With Morrie. He is one of my DEAR (drop everything and read) authors. When I received this book from the publisher I was on cloud-nine and started it immediately. Because I didn’t care for it, I set it aside and restarted it last week. I’m sad to say I couldn’t finish it. Despite the book having Albom’s unique style of writing, I just couldn’t get into the story. If you enjoy historical fiction, are a fan of the rock and roll age, than maybe give it a try. Just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it’s not for you. If you do read it, come let me know how you like it.

Final Conclusion: DNF

About Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is an author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time. His first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, as were For One More Day, his second novel, and Have a Little Faith, his most recent work of nonfiction. All four books were made into acclaimed TV films. Albom also works as a columnist and a broadcaster and has founded seven charities in Detroit and Haiti, where he operates an orphanage/mission. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.


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