images (1)Reviewed by Kathie Smith

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace centers around Jason Priestley’s life at the age of 32. Leaving his job as a teacher to pursue his journalistic dreams seems like a positive leap of faith until he finds himself writing restaurant reviews for a free newspaper, which he doubts anyone ever actually reads, learning of the engagement of his ex-girlfriend (the one he isn’t quite over) and living in an apartment above a video game store.

A chance encounter helping an unknown woman with her bags leads him on a stalker-like chase to find her after he realizes he has inadvertently held onto her disposable camera. After several attempts to spot her at the same location of their brief exchange to return it, his best friend Dev convinces him to develop the photos. And so begins the stalker-like attempt to find The Girl – the woman he inexplicably believes could be “the one.”

This is a difficult novel to get interested in but there are rewards for readers who persevere. Jason and his friends embark on a humorous, plot-twisting, scavenger hunt to find The Girl based on places that show up in her pictures. Things have been difficult for Jason for quite some time and he somehow connects finding this woman to finding his way to the life he wants.

Jason is not necessarily an easy character to like. He leans toward a “woe is me” attitude and has a tendency to complain. The overabundance of references to the Jason Priestly of 90210 fame is possibly the most grating part of all and, obviously, he cannot be blamed for the coincidence of sharing a name with the famous heartthrob. Still, Jason is a guy you want to root for.

Charlotte Street ends well enough aside from its hasty wrap-up form. Partly a tale of finding oneself and partly a tale of midlife crisis, readers who enjoy this light romantic comedy style will appreciate this offering from the male perspective.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Kathie is a writer, wife, mother and volunteer living in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Her passion for the written word is fulfilled by creating her own fictional work, freelancing, acting as an adviser to another author, and reading with her six year old daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.