GoldGato's Reviews > Frank: The Voice

Frank by James Kaplan
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Jun 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: biography, celebrity, music, summer
Read from April 12 to June 26, 2012

This is really the story of how Frankie became Frank. Whereas other Sinatra tomes go through his entire life or just focus on the music, James Kaplan has pulled the reader into Francis Albert's beginnings up until Ava's goodbye. We get a deepened look at the man who changed song, along with some sweet asides about the songwriters, the conductors, and the loves of The Voice's rise-fall-rise before he took off into the stratosphere.

It all started with Mama Dolly. Abortionist, midwife, neighborhood politico. She was the one who shaped young Frankie, made him into the man he became, which isn't exactly Mr. Cool. Through his relentless quest to be better than Der Bingle, to his alienation of much of Hollywood, past his pursuit of Ava Gardner, to his sudden comeback, we get a solid picture of what made this guy the best of the best of the best.

There is a good section of the book devoted to Ava Gardner, of whom I had little interest or knowledge of before I read this, but now I want to know more about her. In my view, that means Kaplan did his job. It's also obvious that the author loves music, as evidenced when he suddenly describes some of Frankie's earlier songs and, especially, as the bowties disappear and the fedora and lamp post take over.

Sinatra was a lifelong Dodger fan, so I felt heartened to know that his favorite color scheme was orange and black...the colors of the Giants (it's worth another hour or so just to read Kaplan's notes/sources section).

Book Season = Summer (when the swinging begins)
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