Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review: Charlotte Street

Author: Danny Wallace
Title: Charlotte Street
Description: Jason Priestly (not that Jason Priestly) has quit his teaching job and gone through a bad breakup with his girlfriend when he spots The Girl on Charlotte Street. As he helps her with her packages, he is left with her disposable camera when she departs in a taxi. Spurred on by his friend Dev, Jason develops the photos in order to find clues to The Girl’s identity.
Review source: Library Thing Early Reviewers
Plot: It’s sort of cute the way Jason gets clues to the locations of the various photos from friends and acquaintances. One recognizes a restaurant, another spots a distinctive watch on someone’s arm, and so on. Jason even runs a newspaper contest to identify a tricky spot. Jason’s relationships (with Dev, his ex, his new friend Abbey, his old friend Zoe, and former student Matt) are also important to the plot.
Characters: At heart, the book is about a directionless thirty-something bachelor finding some direction. Jason is a likeable enough fellow, although he does pull some dastardly moves over the course of the story.
Writing style: For the most part, I like Wallace’s writing style (I also read and reviewed his non-fiction Join me earlier). He does tend to get hooked on a cutesy line and totally overkill it. For example, the fact that Jason’s flat is next to a building that people think is a brothel but isn’t is mentioned literally every time the flat is mentioned, and it’s not funny the first time. Same thing for Jason’s name. It’s not important that he shares his name with a TV star, so why is it mentioned so often? Why not just give him his own name?
Audience: This is sort of a toughie. I think chick lit readers would like it, although it’s by a guy and about a guy. Sort of literary fiction, I guess.
Wrap-up: Maybe I’m coming across a bit critical here, but I really did like the book, especially the last 20% or so. 4/5*

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