Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
Jason Priestley’s life is somewhat…
After giving up a teaching career, he now writes restaurant reviews for a free newspaper that nobody seems to read. He lives in an apartment above a video game store. His ex girlfriend has just announced her engagement and the most exciting thing in Jason’s life is his last Facebook update “Jason Priestley is eating soup.”
*Sigh* Something needs to change.
Then, on a chance encounter, Jason helps an attractive young woman get herself and her multiple shopping bags into a taxi on Charlotte Street. When the taxi pulls away Jason discovers that the girl has dropped a disposable camera. He picks it up, hoping that this bit of “opportunity” that has dropped at his feet will give him an excuse to find her and perhaps get to know her.
This one idea consumes him. Before you know it, Jason is scanning Charlotte Street any chance he gets to hopefully spot her. When this seems to be a colossal waste of time, his roomy and buddy Dev talks him into developing the pictures to see if they left clues to her hangouts. What ensues is a comic of errors including an encounter with a free-spirited gal named Abbey, a hot-tempered ex- student of his goes postal, and many blunders when it comes to moving on from his ex.
Yet slowly, steadily, despite the life mines (my term for land mines) Jason is moving towards the mystery girl one photo at a time…
I thought the idea behind this book was a smart one. Take a camera dropped by a “ooh I would like to see you again” stranger and try to make the encounter happen by following picture clues. Meanwhile, the mystery woman starts a blog which pops up not in alternating chapters, but sporadic chapters building on the story line.
While I loved the idea and a lot of where the story was going (yes, I had several laugh out loud moments), overall this book reminded me a bit of one of those crazy rides at an amusement park… you know the ones, you are going full speed one way and then you abruptly stop and either go backwards just as fast freaking out because you do not know where you are going, jerk sideways, or you free fall into darkness.
Yeah, I think that sums it up.
The book was not what I thought it would be and that is not a bad thing, it just wasn’t all I had hoped (also, not necessarily a bad thing). I guess since the main point of the book was boy meets girl… boy tries hard to meet girl again, I thought that would have a bigger bang to it then it did. While funny and interesting, over all the book felt choppy, many different stories within the story and that did not work so well for me. And, I just have to say while the play on the name Jason Priestley (“no, no… not the one who was the actor on 90201 – ha ha”, was funny – it wasn’t that funny to keep being mentioned over and over and OVER in the book.)
Alright. Enough snarky.
While yes parts annoyed me – it wasn’t a bad read.. you know how I like witty books and there are some good moments within which would cause me to give author Danny Wallace an “I would read another book of yours” partial thumbs up.