Lindsay's Reviews > 84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
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's review
Jan 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, light-and-fun, non-fiction
Read from December 31, 2011 to January 01, 2012

What an unexpectedly delightful book! It is a short compilation of letters (only about 100 pages) back-and-forth between a New York City writer (Helen Hanff) to the staff of a used bookstore on Charring Cross Road in London. The letters were written over a twenty-year span staring in 1949, and pull in bits on society in America and England during the times. Overall, I thought it completely charming, and I would recommend it to any real England-lover. The protagonist (if we can call her that in a work of non-fiction of this type), was a bit harsh at times. She always wrote in jest, but sometimes her words were a bit jarring. (Maybe I think that because of all my editing classes where I've been indoctrinated to never to use caps or too many exclamation points--you are sure to offend your reader by your "shouting" when you use such things) However, knowing that these letters were actually real letters and that the relationship between Helen and the Charring Cross Road staff really existed makes all the letters beautiful in their own way. There's something wonderful and beautiful about writing when it's real. I'm always the biggest fan of fiction, but the voice of a character can never really grate on you when it is real life (as the voice of a fictional character can). Overall, this book was wonderful! It's a tiny read and a perfect book when you want a short, witty, endearing read by the fire.

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