Jan 11, 2009: "Charlotte" is distinguished by a casual and carefree reportage of life and love, with unexpected lyrical and philosophic gems scattered into the writing. I’ve read all the reviews on WFG and I am in total disagreement with Gavin’s harsh criticism.
My response to Gavin. Not all fiction follows a simple formula of "show, don’t tell." "Charlotte" is one of those novels, a sub-species of fiction I actually prefer, which employs an open architecture. The story is loosely digressive and its beauty arises from the spontaneity of observation, the searching rather than finding. The prose is lucid and in places, exquisite. In other words, there is "art" in "Charlotte" and the work shouldn’t be prematurely dismissed because it resembles a diary.
Furthermore, a narrator’s voice can sometimes be more captivating than a pretty scene. As far as fiction goes, there are plenty examples in the history of literature which rely on the voice of a colorful narrator. We enjoy reading this novel because Charlotte has become to us like a close friend; her company charms us. And the chapters are not mere diary entries, they reflect the arc of Charlotte’s mental and emotional development. They do not merely call to mind the past, they weave the past into the present.
While on the surface, it may seem that this novel is about the trifles of college existence, I believe it is much more. I believe it is about something lasting, something we take with us forever.