Mitch Albom is the author of 8 novels including Tuesdays with Morrie and The First Phone Call from Heaven which I have reviewed on my blog. I have read all of his novels and other than the Timekeeper have enjoyed them. His novels have a sense of spirituality and connection. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto compares this connection to having a band. This is his first book that I have listened to. It is the best narration that I have experienced in an audiobook. It almost (and I do mean almost) helped me to look forward to my commute.
This novel is told from the perspective of music as the narrator. Music tells the story of an infant, his mother murdered, who is thrown into the river by a nun who cannot deal with his crying. The baby is rescued by a kind man who notices his love of music. His father organizes guitar lessons by El Maestro and this begins Frankie’s legacy with music. Frankie Presto is a fictional character that is woven into the lives of famous musicians impacting music history that readers will recognize. The book has been described as being similar to the movie Forrest Gump which had a character inserted into real-life history.
The boy is impacted by much tragedy. He not only loses his mother shortly after his birth but experiences the imprisonment of his beloved father. He comes live with and care for his music teacher and is a receptive student until he is sent away to America to find an aunt who does not want him. His talent grows, he becomes famous yet he keeps the old acoustic guitar, a gift from El Maestro close. As he impacts lives, the strings turn blue and snap, one by one.
This is a fantastic story and I believe that the author’s love of music and past experience in bands playing the piano has impacted the text. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of the narration by music, at first, but it really draws the reader (or listener) into the narrative. The audiobook was an absolutely fantastic narration. The voices fit the characters and kept me hooked and wanting to hear more.