Mitch Albom strikes a familiar chord with newest novel


Shelby Foster

“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” is a remarkable book about music, love, and one man’s journey to discover the importance of life. The author, Mitch Albom, has written many other novels, including “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Time Keeper,” and “The First Phone Call from Heaven.”

Dana Gould, Staff Writer

Readers familiar with “Tuesdays with Morrie” have already experienced author Mitch Albom’s ability to present readers with an outlook on life that is so remarkably positive, it’s difficult not to be inspired.  Fans of his previous novels will not be disappointed with his new book, “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto,” as it provides the same emotional experience as “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

“Tuesdays with Morrie” “touched on the emotions that we [generally] don’t talk about, so it caused [the students] to think about things that they physically don’t stop and think about,” English teacher Juliana Wright said.  

“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” has the same effect as it speaks of love, loss, and finding the importance of life. Along with many of his previous novels, the newest release contains many powerful lessons about dealing with emotions and everyday obstacles demonstrated through the unique life of its main character.

The life of Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist on Earth, is narrated by the voice of Music himself as an observer. Frankie, Music’s most treasured disciple, was born in a burning church surrounded by war. Soon after his birth, Frankie was abandoned and raised by a blind musician in Spain. At only nine years old, Frankie Presto leaves the pressing war behind him and escapes to America on the bottom of a boat.

Once he arrives in America, Frankie must make a new life for himself through the only thing he has left: his guitar and six magical strings. His journey takes him from street performer and bar gigs to the ultimate Elvis Presley impersonator and stardom of his own. While navigating the musical world of the 20th century, Frankie Presto’s story becomes entwined with all the musicians and people he meets along the way such as Duke Ellington, The Beatles, and Hank Williams.  

A major lesson of this story is to reveal that one person’s life is never really their own because of all the people that person meets and impacts.

— Staff Writer Dana Gould

As Frankie starts on the path to rise to fame and fortune, he receives adoration and awe for his talented voice and guitar playing. His skill appears to be touched by some divine power, but also proves a burden when Frankie discovers his music impacts the lives of those around him and plays a part in shaping their futures.

This beautifully crafted novel does much more than simply entertain the reader with the story of one man’s life. The book teaches about humanity and getting through the difficult times with the help of loved ones. A major lesson of this story is to reveal that one person’s life is never really their own because of all the people that person meets and impacts. Mitch Albom does an excellent job of incorporating these life lessons without actually acknowledging their existence.

Aside from the life lessons scattered throughout, this book includes characters that are well-developed. Although the majority of the characters are only present for one or two chapters, the author manages to share a glimpse of their lives and Frankie’s impact on each character. These minor characters are not as well developed as the main characters since they are not present throughout the book, but it is still an impressive touch that enhances the book as a whole. The minor characters also help narrate portions of Frankie’s story as the book is told from everyone’s perspective but his own.

The majority of the book is narrated by Music as he explains the life and talent of his most favored disciple, but there are also a few chapters told from the perspective of musicians that Frankie Presto met on his journey through life. Aside from this the author goes a step further and places certain events out of order. While it may sound like an easy way to get confused quickly, this strategy actually intensifies the story by making the reader wait longer to read the end of the previous event. This adds suspense to a story in which there may be little suspense otherwise and keeps the reader hooked, unable to set the book down.

“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” is an extraordinary read for teenagers and adults that provides readers with an entertaining and inspirational story. Although the book is longer than Mitch Albom’s other works, the additional length is just as emotional and inspirational. Even people with little interest in music will still find this an enjoyable read as this tale is not about the music as much as it is about creating relationships and the journey it takes to get there.