Ok so it’s 1949 and Helene Hanff writes to Marks & Co book store all, Dear sirs, I live in the savage, grimy Americas where we have no books except for tearing pages out of to start prairie fires with and, as you are a book-seller in Respectable Old England, could you locate for me any of the following, sincerely etc. And then they write her back all, Dear Madam, enclosed are copies of etc.
And she writes back asking for more books and they write back vis a vis those books and she’s American and saucy and will be all, Dear SLOTH, where are my books? And Frank, her main corrospondent, is British and prim and very Miss Hanff, I apologize that we have not been able to find etc but he slowly becomes less sticky and more genial and the other staff start secretly writing to ‘Frank’s Miss Hanff’ and she sends all the girls each a pair of nylons because it is just after the war and everything is still rationed in England so she starts sending packets of meat and eggs and they send her letters grateful for the meat and eggs and you guys it will snuggle your heart-cockles.
And Hanff is a book-lover and book-snob to break the band, so she’s always all ‘creamy pages’ and ‘soft leather bindings’ so that you are stroking them in your mind, and then ‘this is not pepy’s diary, this is some busybody editor’s miserable collection of EXERPTS from pepy’s diary may he rot.’
The book is only 97 pages so this review is already, comparitavely, much too long, but I enjoyed it with all my heart (cockles).