Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
Charlie is at school, writing to an unknown person and the book is from his perspective through the letters he writes. It starts as a normal boy whose nervous about starting as a Freshman and how the death of his friend Michael and his beloved Aunt shaped the way he was today.
Charlie is kind of a loner, until he meets Sam and Patrick at one of the school’s football games and he becomes apart of there lives, despite the fact that they are older than him.
From there, through his letters, we see how it chronicals his life. From his love for Sam, from seeing Partick and the football guy, Brad, making out, how he drinks, smokes and teakes drugs, the first time he “touches himself” (haha) to making out with one of his friends Mary Elizabeth and how the world around him doesn’t seem like its good to him anymore.
Charlie cries quite often in this book and it became apparent to me that he was either a manic depressive or was bi-polar. He didn’t seem interested in life as much as he should have. He had experienced death, he’d already been to the hospital when his Aunt died and he sees a therapist.
Growing up in High School’s is not the best experience for some people and for Charlie it really showed. There were some things I could relate to with Charlie.
Like Charlie I was not one of those kids people notice immediately, I was, and sometimes still am, insecure. I was never a popular kid, I had a few friends who I hung around with but unlike the one’s in Charlie’s life, I no longer speak to them.
I also understood how Charlie felt sometimes. How life didn’t make sense, how life was unfair at times and how nothing made sense. Being depressed myself made me really want Charlie to get better and I really wanted to reach into the book and tell him that everything was going to be okay.
I loved how the book was written though letters. I really wanted to know who this ‘friend’ he was writing to was and whether or not he actually read them.
Stephen covers alot of themes in this book; suicide, depression, domestic abuse, homosexuality, drug use, mental issues, first sexual experiences, rape, abortion etc.
It was different, it covered issues that some people still think are taboo subjects but they were only touched upon briefly. All these characters in the book had suffered from one thing or the other and I think that’s why Charlie, Sam and Patrick became such close friends.
It all came to a head at the end of the book when Charlie clearly wasn’t coping anymore and everything finally came to a head and he was hopitalised for two months. That’s when people learnt about his problems and how they were all blind to what was happening. But that’s what depression is; its an unknown illness and this book touched on it so well.
I really hope Charlie had a better life and learnt how to deal with things more. It really was a coming of age book and dealing with every issue going.
Stephen Chbosky, I do love this book and thank you for writing it