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Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
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Charlotte Street (edition 2012)

by Danny Wallace

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11717103,116 (3.68)4
Member:starryeyedheart
Title:Charlotte Street
Authors:Danny Wallace
Info:Ebury (2012), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Jason Priestley is feeling kind of pathetic. He's living over a video game shop, next to that place that everyone thought was a brothel but wasn't. In between writing snarky reviews for the free paper they hand out on the train in London, he keeps busy watching his ex's dream life unfold via Facebook while he...eats soup. By all accounts, Jason is trapped in a horrible rut, waiting for his real life to start while he drinks bizarre Polish alcoholic beverages with his best friend and roommate Dev, who keeps his customer-free retro video game business afloat with the profits from his father's Brick Lane restaurants.

Things are going along more or less miserably when Jason has a run-in with a girl, because there's always a girl. He helps her get into a taxicab with an inordinate amount of stuff, and is left with the memory of her smile, the lingering sense that he should have asked her out for a drink, and one disposable camera. When Dev convinces Jason that they have to develop the photos, Jason's suddenly hurtling down a rabbit hole toward laughable lunacy and self-discovery as he sets out to find the girl in the pictures and the hope she left behind.

I didn't like Charlotte Street as much as I'd hoped. I was hoping for a laugh-out-loud funny, twisted love story. What I got was the tale of an irritatingly immature guy who through a series of mostly unrelated events matures to the point of being tolerable but not for any reason that is readily apparent. While bumbling one's way to self-actualization might be the way it happens, I didn't find that it made for an especially compelling story.

While Charlotte Street was amusing, I didn't find myself laughing so much as being almost squirmingly uncomfortable with all the awkward scrapes Jason stumbles into. I struggle with the kind of humor that relies on your relating to a character having crushingly embarrassing, shamefully awkward moments. Even on TV, when other people are laughing, I find myself inwardly cringing. This books is full to the brim with those sorts of sitcom scenarios that I find uncomfortable rather than hilarious, which is, I'm sure, more a problem with this reader than with the book itself. Humor is one of those things that is so subjective that it's hard to please everyone, and I'm sure the humor found in Charlotte Street has the potential to appeal to a large audience, that maybe doesn't so much include me.

I loved the premise. I loved the beginning of the story where he has the hope of meeting the girl. I even continued chuckling at some of the humor devices Wallace kept falling back on throughout the length of the book, like how Jason is not that Jason Priestley, and the apartment being next to the not-brothel. I even liked the ending and how it seemed oddly more feasible than much of the meat of the book. Unfortunately, the middle meandered for so long that the story bogged itself down and left me longing to turn the last page for all the wrong reasons. ( )
  yourotherleft | Sep 7, 2013 |
When I grow up and (hopefully) become a proper writer, I want to be Danny Wallace. His words simply trickle off the page like treacle oozing off a spoon, and in Charlotte Street he has a real winner on his hands. Here was have the story of Jason Priestley (not of 90210 fame although he gets that a lot...) whose brief encounter with a mystery beauty on Charlotte Street results in him being left with her disposal camera.

Besotted by the mystery woman and encouraged by his best friend Dev (who is arguably the best character in the book), Jason decides to get the pictures developed to try and use it for clues to find her again. With shades of Friends Like These, Jason ends up searching the length and breadth of the country (well, Whitby anyway) in what becomes a slight obsession to meet this woman again...

To read the rest of this review please click here:
http://stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/Charlotte-Street-Danny-Wallace-boo... ( )
  StevenScaffardi | Aug 15, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a fun book! This was my first time reading anything by Danny Wallace, but I really enjoyed the witty voice of his protagonist, Jason. The premise of the book is basically that Jason's life is a mess. He's going through some tough times with his career and his personal life simultaneously, trying to get over an ex-girlfriend while transitioning into a new career. In the middle of all this, Jason, in an uncharacteristic move, helps a lady on Charlotte Street get into a cab and is left with her disposable camera in his hands. This starts Jason and his friends on a semi-stalkerish adventure to find the girl and return her photos to her.

Jason's troubles are relatable - ever stressed over whether to delete an ex from your Facebook friends? - and he tells his story with wit and a well-crafted voice. ( )
  ReadHanded | Apr 9, 2013 |
Can I just say how much fun it is to be in Danny Wallace's head again? Even when he's pretending to be someone else, he's delightful.

Wallace's protagonist is Jason Priestley. (No, not that one.) One day on Charlotte Street he sees a woman struggling with packages as she gets into a taxicab. A quick offer of help and Jason is smitten. At the end of the brief encounter, he finds he has accidentally kept one of her things, a disposable camera.

The plot of Charlotte Street is remarkably like his non-fiction. Jason's 'stupid boy project' involves trying to track this girl down using the very pictures he wants to return to her. Wallace walks a fine line with his plot, but he's good enough to hang a lantern on the fact that Jason's behaviour is vaguely invasive. The characters use the term "stalking", but unlike most stalkers Jason doesn't imagine a relationship with the girl that doesn't exist. He's aware of the questionability of his behaviour and knows perfectly well he may find this girl only to be told to bugger off.

The title of the book indicates that Wallace intended Charlotte Street to be a definitive part of the story, but as someone whose never been to Charlotte Street (and has only occasionally been to London) I was left with the feeling that I was missing something.

I admit to a vague disappointment while reading this volume that the events inside it never happened, but I realize how ridiculous a demand that is. Join Me and Yes Man were delightful "stupid boy projects", but if he were to keep up such activities, it would mean he would have less time to write.

Therefore, I can only look forward to his next piece of fiction.

This review also appears at Boxes of Paper ( )
  boxesofpaper | Mar 29, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book started out great and I was really into the humor and the story. Then about halfway through I became bogged down by the story and the humor was gone as well. The characters were intriguing at first as well, and then I found that I just did not care about any of them and I did not care if Jason ever found "the girl" I am disappointed as I thought this was going to be a fun, light read, but that is not the case. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Feb 6, 2013 |
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Epigraph
There's nothin' like the humdrum of life and love in London.  Chasin' girls out of the sticks, Changing worlds with twelve quick clicks.  - Girl in a Photo, The Kicks
"As good things go...she went.   - Hovis Presley
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For Elliot
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It happened on a Tuesday.
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Book description
Jason Priestley is in something of a rut.  And no, not that Jason Priestley.  This is the 32-year-old Jason Priestley who gave up his job as a teacher to pursue his journalistic dreams-writing snarky reviews of cheap restaurants for the free newspaper they give you on the train.  He's living above a video game shop, between a Polish newsagent's and the place that everyone thinks is a brothel but isn't.  And now he's found out on Facebook that the girlfriend who left him is engaged.  Reflecting on his most recent Facebook status-Jason Priestley is...eating soup"- Jason's beginning to think he needs a change.  So when he notices a girl on the street struggling with an armload of packages, he surprises himself by moving to help her.  She smiles an incredible smile, and there's something, a fleeting moment, what feels like a beginning.  But her cab pulls away, the sense of possibility cruelly cut off-until Jason notice that she's dropped a disposable camera.  In the hands of his socially inept best friend Dev, what begins as a coincidence-based, half-joking idea become a full fledged quest to find the woman of Jasonn's dreams.  Exploring that most common question-What if?  the ensuing adventure is surprising, wonderfully tender, and often hilarious.  (ARC)
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Jason Priestley has a problem. His ex-girlfriend has just announced her engagement. His dreams of being a journalist have amounted to writing reviews nobody notices, for a freebie newspaper nobody reads. (And that's aside from the fact that he spends too much of his life explaining that he's not that Jason Priestley.) But that's not Jason's current problem. He's looking for a girl. He doesn't even know her real name but, in his head, he calls her 'Charlotte Street' because that's where they met and shared a moment, before he helped her into a cab. But life's full of missed opportunities and Jason would probably never have the chance to see 'Charlotte' again, were it not for the fact that she'd accidentally left her disposable camera in his hands...… (more)

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