This post is contributed by one of my best friends, Shashi Sahai. She is a pediatrician in Detroit.
Music, the narrator in Mitch Albom’s latest book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, goes on to say, “Only some make music. 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.”
There was a time, when I read anything and everything that came my way in the name of a book. I was passing through an extremely prolonged lull, when Pranavi recommended this book during the holidays. I ran to the library. I have tried reading books on my Kindle, the feeling is okay, but I do like the feeling of a book on my palms. I like the whole experience..the bookmark etc…. I was happy to find the book under the HIT (High Interest Title) Section, meaning I’d have to return it in under a week.
I didn’t put it down until I finished it. Now, I do not let a friend pass by without telling him or her about the book. The author paints a vivid picture, using very simple strokes. The sentences are simple and short and beckon you to turn pages, as you are pulled into a beautiful web of seamless mix of poetry and prose.
The book is about a gifted guitarist, Frankie Presto. The author masterfully meshes in real life celebrity musicians into his life. Frankie’s life begins in the midst of war and persecution in one continent. His life crosses path with people across continents who become his nurturers and protectors, as well as a ‘guru’ who goes beyond his own emotional challenges to foster Frankie’s talent. Frankie himself experiences loss and suffering beginning from his birth, and fate, in exchange for the deep pain inflicted upon him, gives him a special gift to help others. As a reader you are hooked on the ride and you are ready to follow Frankie through what may lie ahead. Frankie even passes through Detroit and I could feel myself walking the snowy sidewalks.
The book explores the theme of alliances that we form in life and informal adoptions that may occur. These relationships are strong and perhaps stronger than family ties despite the lack of any genetic pull or blood relations. There is a salute to human qualities that can still win over the dark in this world. There is enduring love that sustains, survives and grows through all manners of personal strife, distance and distractions. Mitch Albom pays homage to the universal language of music and its transforming and transcendental nature.
I’ll let you read the book to discover for yourself what lies behind those magic strings and the flowers that are made with them!