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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading Another Person's Mail Was Never So Delightful
Helene Hanff was a New York writer and Frank Doel was a London bookseller. This book chronicles the letters they wrote over a period of many years to one another. Although they never met, they became true friends bonded by their love of literature.
Having read this tiny little gem, I can tell you that I'm not even sure why I liked it so much. Maybe it was because...
Published on October 19, 2000 by Antoinette Klein

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Killer charm
Given the amazing reputation this book has had for over thirty years I wanted to like it so much more than I did. Helene Hanff, a television screenwriter living in Manhattan after World War II, collected a series of letters she wrote to the workers at Marks & Co., a bookstore along London's famous Charing Cross Road, over the course of two decades, from her initial...
Published on September 15, 2008 by Jay Dickson


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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading Another Person's Mail Was Never So Delightful, October 19, 2000
By 
Antoinette Klein (Hoover, Alabama USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Hardcover)
Helene Hanff was a New York writer and Frank Doel was a London bookseller. This book chronicles the letters they wrote over a period of many years to one another. Although they never met, they became true friends bonded by their love of literature.
Having read this tiny little gem, I can tell you that I'm not even sure why I liked it so much. Maybe it was because I loved seeing a warm friendship develop between two total strangers. Maybe it was because I loved the dry wit of Helene and the staunch Britishness of Frank. Maybe it was because I liked hearing about the WWII years, how the people of Britain sacrificed, and how one caring American woman made a difference to this small group of Britishers.
One note: this is the only book I have ever read that is truly enhanced by the video. Read the book, then rent the movie. Anne Bancroft is the perfect Helene and Anthony Hopkins is brilliant as Frank.
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77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Treasure, April 22, 2003
By 
Ricky Hunter (New York City, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
I waited too long to finally read 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and I have no reasonable excuse for it. Someone had lent me a copy and it was the only book in my backpack on the commute to work one morning as I had forgotten to bring the book I was reading, so I started it and had one of the best journeys of my life. I immediately ran out and bought my own copy as I knew that I would read this book over and over again. It is very funny and, in the end, quite touching in ways that all readers will understand and appreciate. The best endorsement of this book is that it will get one to investigate all sorts of old classics and look at reading and writing in new and different ways. I personally will be letting used books fall open just to see what interested a reader from the past and what he or she is trying to tell me. I little trick gratefully picked up from the delightful Helene Hanff.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, with a heart-rending and tragic moral, September 13, 2002
By 
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This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
This is the story of an American writer (the author of the book) who strikes up a friendship by mail with a bookseller in England. The entire book is a series of unedited and un-commented-on letters exchanged between Hanff and the Marks & Co. booksellers at 84 Charing Cross Road. Her primary pen pal is a man named Frank Doel, with whom she shares a love of old books. [Perhaps this is the point where I should say that I flatly disagree, without reservation, with the previous reviewers who believe there was a potential romantic attachment between the two of them.]
The correspondence runs from 1949 until 1969, during which time Helene and the people at 84 Charing Cross Road exchange Christmas gifts and news of their families, but never meet. At least in the early years of the correspondence, almost every year Ms. Hanff states her intention to come over to visit England, but something always comes up to prevent the trip.
In 1969, one of Hanff's letters to Frank Doel is answered by another member of the firm, informing her that Frank Doel has died.
This is a beautiful book, which can be read in 45 minutes. I suppose every reader will take his or her own lessons from the book, but here is mine: If there is something you really want to do in your life, then DO IT when the opportunity arises. Time is finite. If you keep saying, "Maybe next year," there will eventually come a time when there IS no next year. It is a painful tragedy that Helene Hanff never got to England to meet Frank Doer and the other people at Marks & Company, and that poignant sadness is what stayed with me after I had closed the book.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure, May 12, 2000
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Hardcover)
84 Charing Cross Road is a small book of correspondence between Helene Hanff, the author and Frank Doel, a London book seller. These letters chronicle their lives over a twenty year period from 1949 to 1969. Though never meeting, they share a very special friendship, almost a chaste love affair, that extends to his co-workers and family. This is a charming and delightful book about two people you come to care for through their letters and wish you knew in person. A must for your home library. A book you'll read over and over again and share with friends.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars letters make fast reading powerful story of human relationships, March 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
This is a true story--that's always a plus for me--about correspondence between a New York booklover/writer and the staff of a used and antiquarian book shop in London. These business correspondents evolve over the years into members of a kind of extended family.

The book is rather amazing because it is a quick read yet packs a powerful emotional wallop. To enjoy this book, you have to be open to books that explore compassion, emotions, and human relationships in a non-glossy, realistic manner.

Normally, I'm a one-read guy. I read a book and pass it on. Yet, I've read 84 Charing Cross Road three times -- so far -- in spite of seeing the movie version three times as well.

I'd place 84 Charing Cross Road among my top five favorite books.

Rodney
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unspoken love, August 26, 2000
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
I must admit I saw the movie first. Very literary unique and bitter-sweet true story which touch my soul. I found the book and it is even better with detailed description and sincerity. I particularly enjoyed reading the letter-format of it. It is so warm hearted and just like reading letters from friends. In fact I even felt a little guilty as if I am reading other people's private letters... This excellent book shines in drawing out the cultural and social differences between London and New York during the period of Frank and Helene letters correspondence. 84 Charing Cross Road changed their lives.They developed special friendship,an unspoken love and care for each other without even seeing each other.This is truly amazing! I think "84 Charing Cross Road" is one of the best book I had read. Easy to read, great story line,literary educational and most importantly touches my heart and soul.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a quaint joyful read, October 25, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Hardcover)
Reading 84 Charing Cross Road, after a gap of 25 years was like having never read it before. I was totally absorbed from the first word. Helene conveyed the wonderful appreciation of her friends (the books) to anyone who read 84. This was the most uplifting read I have had in many a year. I would hope to meet a "Frank" just as she had, who was a warm caring man, with an appreciation of good literature and fine old books. Now I have to have this book in hardcover format so that it may withstand the passage of time and the many readings it will receive. Thank you Helene for the pleasure your story gave me and millions of other readers.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFUL, HEARTWARMING BOOK, November 9, 2002
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
Anyone who loves books will love this story about a vibrant New York lady's passion for collecting them, told in alternating letters of correspondence between the struggling author and a British antiquarian seller who supplied by mail the treasured secondhand books she could barely afford to buy. An amazing true story spanning twenty years, it was made into a memorable and moving film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, and is available on video.
Some editions of 84 Charing Cross Road come with the companion book The Duchess of Bloomsbury (or you can get it separately), a diary Ms Hanff kept when she visited London for the first time; but not until the original book had made her famous and she was finally able to afford the dream trip she had longed for. Also try to get her autobiography, Q's Legacy, or her book about New York, Apple of My Eye.
Sadly, Ms Hanff passed away recently, but her story will live on forever in the letters that touched the hearts of thousands.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sentimental Story, July 18, 2003
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This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
84 Charing Cross Road is a sentimental and heartwarming story of a woman's love of literature and deep and lasting friendship she made with people across the Atlantic. It is a correspondence between the author Helene Hanff, and her favorite book store, Marks and Company, located in London, England.  Miss Hanff, who lived in New York, wrote letters to Marks and Company for a period of about twenty years, from 1949 to 1969. During this time she became a friend of the owner as well as the entire staff.  Helene always wanted to go to England to see the bookstore, and meet the staff, but she never made it.  It is an intriguing book because it shows us that prior to the invention of the internet and instant communication, people often had to communicate by letter which allowed for more personal contact, even over thousands of miles.  It was a rewarding relationship on both sides. We learn that it is possible to form  lasting and deep relationships with people that we have never physically met.  This book should inspire others to start writing. How many of us remember how exciting it was to receive letters in the mail, or how we felt knowing that one we had written was flying or sailing across the sea.   I remember how excited I got as a child when I relieved a letter in the mail.  Reading this book brought those memories back and made me want to start writing letters again.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 84 is my favorite book!, May 6, 2000
This review is from: 84, Charing Cross Road (Hardcover)
I love this book. You have to read it again and again, it never gets old. It is a book that will touch you and make you think. There is also a great film version of this book staring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins that does great justice to this masterpiece! Well worth the read. You can finish it in one day.
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84, Charing Cross Road
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (Paperback - October 1, 1990)
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