Book Review: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff


Non Fiction > Classics

It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.


It brightens my day if I hear a story of friendship formed in the most simplest of ways: A constant fellow passenger during your way home. An old acquaintance turned closest confidante. 84, Charing Cross Road reminded me of that. With a little heartbreak, of course.

I don’t do regrets. I’m a carpe diem woman, if I may. That is why the ending of this book left me shocked, and angry for what was lost 😦 It got me thinking: Why didn’t I take him for his offer to dine out? Why didn’t I try my darndest to be number one at school?  Why, oh why, didn’t I buy that ticket and just hop on that freaking plane?!! That what-if game will be the death of me, I tell you, so I don’t play it.

84, Charing Cross Road brings forth two people who love books, leading one thing to another. Then suddenly, friendship knew no bounds, no time. A bit bittersweet, but this book was something to read, even if to cherish those people we’ve come to know and love. Through common love for books. 🙂

It dawned on me: When reading, and that while I turn the pages that leads me to the end, there really is no end to the story. When it ends, it just opens to another chapter. Though the story will change, it will continue with its course. I think that is called friendship.


84, CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff

Paperback, 97 pages

Published October 1st 1990 by Penguin Books

4/5 stars


12 thoughts on “Book Review: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

  1. Those “what-ifs” in this book made me awfully sad.
    I made a couple of “what-ifs” last week.
    So I am looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the gals soon. 🙂

  2. I just read this book—it immediately became my favorite!! Great review! I adored Hanff and Doel’s friendship.

  3. Pingback: July Wrap Up | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  4. Pingback: Elated: Best Reads of 2013 | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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