20 July 2012
Book Review: 84 Charing Cross Road
Author: Helene Hanff
Publisher/Year: Penguin / 1990 / 1970
Source/Format: Shelves / Print
Date Finished: 17 July 2012
Book # 35
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
The Short and Sweet of It
This collection of letters between Hanff and a used-book seller in London unveils a friendship that lasted 20 years.
A Bit of a Ramble
What a freaking ridiculously charming book! Seriously, I was hooked and would have read the short collection in one sitting if my baby nut would have let me. As it was, I had to take two sittings; although, I am now thinking this was actually a good thing as it gave me some time to process.
Hanff's quirky personality and Frank's blend of the personal and the professional really add life to their letters. Whether they were talking about books, family, or the odd tidbit, I was consistently interested in what they had to say. And they were just so....kind to each other. Helene doesn't just write to Frank, she writes to others in the office and to Frank's wife. She sends them food and gifts, and Frank's elderly neighbor embroidered a tablecloth for Helene.
This book brings up all those adjectives I very very rarely find myself using in book reviews: quaint, tender, charming, sweet, and lovely (and I don't mean a single one of those in the arrogant, elitist, sarcastic, insulting, holier-than-thou way they are typically used). This is a book that warms the heart and brings a smile to the reader's face.
If you have not yet read this one - which I am sure you have as I am the last blogger ever to read it - you should do so as soon as possible. It won't take you long to read, but it will stay with you long after.
NOTES: This counts towards my goal of Reading Books I Own and the subgoal under it, Classics Reading