Tuesday, October 19, 2010

84 Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff


Ms. Helene Hanff
New York City, NY

Dear Ms. Hanff:

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sandy and I am a book blogger that recently read the collection of letters between yourself and Mr. Frank Doel, an employee of the Marks & Co. antiquarian booksellers in London, England. Forgive me if I sound too familiar with you (as you are a stranger) but those letters melted my little book-loving heart! If there was ever a book for book-lovers, this was it.

I found myself nodding my head throughout your short but impactful book. What else would serve as a basis for a twenty-year correspondence and overseas friendship besides the love of books? I totally GET that. Bibliophiles like you and Mr. Doel immediately and easily find a common bond with each other, even if it is through letters and not face-to-face interaction (just like book bloggers).

Oh, the books you received from Marks & Co.!!! If you started a blog, Ms. Hanff, you would definitely be on the short list for the Most Eclectic Blog award. A Grolier Bible, Jane Austen, Chaucer, Samuel Pepys, Plato...you have an amazing range of interests. No wonder you are such an accomplished writer! And you have such an enthusiastic love for the written word. That enthusiasm shines through in your letters. And may I be so bold as to tell you that you have a ripping good sense of humor??? You made me laugh out loud.

You are also a very kind person. Do you give yourself enough credit for this? You seem so casual about your thoughtful gestures. It isn't everyone who would appreciate the food shortages experienced in London because of WWII, and send such rare delicacies such as ham and candies and other goodies to your friends at Marks & Co. You must have been their favorite customer. In fact, I would imagine most of them would consider you a family member. After all, these kind folks did offer you the use of their guest bedrooms if you would have ever visited.

Which brings me to the one big beef I have with you, if I may speak frankly. I realize times were tight, you had to get your teeth fixed, you had to move to a new apartment, etc. But girlfriend, please. I know a good dozen bloggers, including myself, who would have floated you a little bit of cash to send you overseas to meet these dear people, especially Mr. Doel. Would that not have been the perfect end to a perfect story? You made me want to cry at that missed opportunity.

Oh well, I forgive you. You brightened my day. You made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'll still give your book a 5 out of 5.


My best and warmest regards,

30 comments:

mel u said...

I read and posted on 84, Charing Cross Road last week-I really enjoyed the book references and the friendship that developed-I enjoyed the style as well as the content of your post a lot

JoAnn said...

I loved this, too, Sandy. Did you know there is a movie?

Molly said...

I loved this book - and the second book as well, Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

farmlanebooks said...

What a wonderful letter! I really hope that you get a reply! I love the sound of this book and after reading this post I've added it to my wishlist. I can't resist books about books :-)

Melody said...

I loved your post (letter), Sandy! Now you've really made me want to buy and read the book!!

Beth F said...

What a super, super post! And is this really your first time reading this utterly charming book? Oh the anguish of waiting for the next letter or package.

Alice Teh said...

You made me go "aaaahhhhh...." so many times while reading this post, I am beginning to look funny to people around me at McDonald's.

Meg said...

I saw the film just a year or two ago and fell in love! In fact, it's criminal that I haven't yet read the book. Books about books are some of my favorites, too! Glad you really enjoyed this one, and thanks for reminding me to put this one back on my radar!

bermudaonion said...

What a clever review for what sounds like a fantastic book!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

As Kathy noted, how absolutely clever you are! But we knew that!

Literate Housewife said...

Perfection! This review could not be more perfect. I loved this book, too. Have you seen the movie? Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. I loved it, too. You must see it if you haven't already.

Carrie K. said...

I love that you wrote your review as a letter - simply perfect. :) I too, loved this book - and still have the movie waiting on my Netflix queue - I hear it's very well done.

Zibilee said...

I loved this review, and loved the book as well. I also couldn't believe that she never got the chance to meet Frank and the people at Marks & Co., and really would have loved to see that happen. This is such a short book, but for a bibliophile, it sure packs a punch. Glad to hear that you loved it so much! Awesomely creative post!

Julie P. said...

Your post is wonderful! You are so creative! I must read this one now!

Jen - devourer of books said...

Oh, what a lovely post. I have this one on the shelves somewhere, and now I must find it and read it!

The Bumbles said...

Dearest Sandy:

Has anyone ever told you that you are da bomb? You are the best and brightest of all the book bloggers and I'm not just saying that because we're buddies. I mean it.

Clever girl. Always finding a fresh way to make your reviews shine. Keep up the good work of providing entertaining reviews. My to read list is ever expanding due to you!

Yours truly,

Bumble

Marieke said...

Sandy, I am listening to this on audio right now and loving it! You're right, the saddest thing is that she didn't make the trip. Enjoyed your review!

Avid Reader said...

I love this book and I love your review idea. I watched the movie after reading it and it is good. I've got the sequel on my TBR list.

Nymeth said...

I LOVED this book, and your review is the most brilliant thing ever! Also, do pick up The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street if you have the chance. It's about when she finally makes it to England and I found it just as brilliant.

Iliana said...

You know Helene Hanff would have a most amazing blog! :)

So glad to hear you loved this and I love your letter. So perfect!

Teacher/Learner said...

Such a wonderful, unique post :o) I have seen this book mentioned a lot lately. The movie was very good, so I'm hoping the book does the same for me as it has for so many others.

Stephanie said...

This isn't a book I would normally pick up, but all the reviews seem to be very positive, so that definitely makes me consider it.

Alyce said...

It was a wonderful book! I think comparing them to modern day bloggers is an apt comparison.

Jenners said...

Dear Sandy:

Thank you for your most wonderful letter. But what are these blogs you speak of? It sounds like you are a great lover of books. Perhaps we could be friends? Thank you for convincing your friends that they need to read this book.

Sincerely,
Helene

Anna said...

Loved this review! I definitely will have to read this one at some point.

S. Krishna said...

Aww, what a great review! I'll definitely have to read this one.

SuziQoregon said...

So I still haven't read this book, but adore this review. What a wonderful way to review the book. Makes me want to read it even more than I already do.

heidenkind said...

Letters are the win! Great review. :)

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I've only seen the movie, but am dying to read the book -- and even more so now! LOVED LOVED this post!!!!

Melissa M said...

I have to admit, I was skimming a bit until I saw your 5 out of 5. Then I knew I must go back, read carefully, and add this book to my list!