Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book #2- Frank: The Voice

Title- Frank: The Voice
Author- James Kaplan
Series- None
Genre- Biography
Pages- 718
Pages to date- 1,231

The Good:
The most alluring and entertaining aspect of this book is the detail. Kaplan manages to include every last odd and end of Sinatra's life. Also particularly noteworthy are his descriptions of music and Sinatra's way of singing. It is hard to encapsulate such a complex thing as music in few words, but Kaplan does so in a captivating manner.
An important goal in biography is to accurately capture the essence of the subject. It can be difficult, especially in the research stage, to find unbiased sources. Kaplan has obviously avoided this mishap, as he doesn't levitate Sinatra to a godlike status. He paints a very human picture of the legendary artist, and I appreciated this as a reader.

The Bad:
There were two issues I had with the piece.
First was the coverage. The book, as expected of course, was a chronicle of Sinatra's life. However, the piece ended in 1954, when he won the academy award for best supporting actor in From Here To Eternity. Anyone who knows of "The Voice" knows that he was active for many years after (he even had another wife after the end of the book) his Oscar. This bio left out the entire Rat Pack era. This was disappointing especially because the Rat Pack and his relationships with its members are very compelling. I wished immediately after finishing that Kaplan had continued on. Regardless of the omission of 44 years of Sinatra's life, this is still a great book. The areas that it does cover are very well-written and interesting.
My second issue was voice. At times, Kaplan writes in his own voice. At others, it seems as if he is channeling Sinatra. If there was a little more balance between the two the book would read a little more easily.

The Verdict:
Frank: The Voice is a captivating account of Sinatra's life and a must for any fans of the singer, but readers who are looking for an account of the Rat Pack years should look elsewhere.

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