“Unmissable...will have you laughing out loud and melt your heart, all at once.”
Danny Wallace is a British writer, producer, and award-winning journalist whom GQ (UK) calls, “One of Britain’s great writing talents.” The man who gave us Yes Man (basis for the Hollywood motion picture starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel) makes a grand foray into fiction with Charlotte Street, a sweet and sharp romantic comedy about finding love, growing up, and making your own fate that fans of the novels of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls are going to adore. With this charming, slightly twisted comic novel about an endearing loser’s convoluted plot to turn a brief chance meeting into a once-in-a-lifetime love affair, Wallace proves he has ample heart to go along with the humor.
Wallace's delightful debut is the story of the hapless Jason Priestley (no, not that Jason Priestley), formerly an uninspiring teacher of uninspirable youth, now a reviewer of, among other things, "irritatingly forgettable" restaurants with names like "AbraKebabra" and "Pizza the Action." Although he's been dumped by girlfriend Sarah, Jason can't bring himself to unfriend her on Facebook; consequently, he is forced to read Sarah's "having the time of my life" status updates, while the best he can muster is "eating some soup." He now shares a questionable flat above a videogame shop with the owner and Jason's best friend, Dev. A chance encounter with a pretty stranger on Charlotte Street leaves Jason accidentally in possession of her disposable camera, though not of her name. At Dev's insistence, they develop the photos. Thereby hangs a tale, which wends its witty way through a road trip to Yorkshire with an auto mechanic, several run-ins with an angry political puppeteer, and a foray to a posh event promoting juices with acai. A lively supporting cast, including the Polish waitress Dev pines for, helps and/or thwarts Jason in pursuit of his mysterious stranger. The combination of Dickensian plot twists and Hornbyesque humor and hope makes for a thoroughly entertaining read.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I felt this novel was a bit lacking. The prose style was direct: no colorful use of language, no symbolism, and the story went in a simple predictable trajectory. It was a quick read but I had a hard time digesting all the pop cultural/social media references. I don't think that they enhanced the story, but maybe I'm just weary of things that are "too now" in regards to fiction. I want to read something that's going to age gracefully, not soon be dated by references. My favorite character was definitely Abby, but even she fell flat: the archetype manic pixie dream girl, who's quirky nature heals and motivates the men she befriends to wake up and pursue their dreams. Overall, I took a gamble and read Charlotte Street, but I don't think this novel is for me.