“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” took me on an unexpected journey. Perhaps it touched me more as I keep hearing of stories of how music is helping bring people together during the pandemic.
This book by Mitch Albom (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016) is told from the perspective of music. Music is a talent who chooses certain people at birth, at least according to the author. It’s up to the person to develop the talent and do as they wish with it.
The main character, Frankie Presto, is an orphan in Spain. His life intersects with those of many famous musicians—Elvis, Darlene Love, Duke Ellington, Kiss, Tony Bennett and so many others.
Albom proves everyone will join a band. “As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendship, some through romance, some through neighborhoods, school, an army. Maybe you will all dress the same, or laugh at your own private vocabulary. Maybe you will flop on couches backstage, or share a boardroom table, or crowd around a galley inside a ship. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it. And, as is usually the fate with bands, most of them will break up—through distance, differences, divorce, or death.”
While this is a work of fiction, it is believable in how the power of music could take hold of those have been touched by this talent whether they possess it or are listeners who appreciate it. The book is multidimensional with the story of the boy who becomes a man, his families, the world at that time and human behavior.