“We accept the love we think we deserve, Charlie.”
This book is the sort of book that changes you for having read it. I rarely buy things without reading them first, buy I’m so glad I took the leap of faith with this one. It far exceeded my expectations. I am lost for words on summarizing this one, so thank you, GR. 🙂
This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course 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.
I loved this book because I felt, as so many other teens do, that I am not quite so alone after reading it. Charlie is utterly charismatic because he doesn’t realize he is. He often has moments of brutal honesty and wisdom, but not in that TFiOS-esque way of knowing that he’s being wise. His letters are so real, it’s hard to believe.
As much as I loved this book, it’s very controversial. It touches on basically every single taboo topic ever. But to people who complain about this, I say; “Um. Hello? It’s life. This stuff happens. It’s awful, but it’s life.” Charlie isn’t a good role model, but would you say Bella is a good role model? Or even Katniss? (the first basically almost got herself killed 10 times and then became immortal, and the second volunteered to fight to the death. Not that that isn’t honorable and all, but would you really want your kids doing that IRL? Rant over.) Teens love this because it doesn’t shield us from real life. Not every YA book has to have this stuff, but the way it was written gives these things a natural place.
Charlie’s POV is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It ticks me off to read all these rude reviews or this book on GR. “Only teens like this book” “childish” Seriously, people? Anyone who has ever been a teen has identified with this book in some way, especially current teens. He does write in short sentences with that type of harsh, beautiful language I love, but that is because he has mental damage. (I won’t tell you exactly what happened, but if you read it, you won’t expect it, and you probably won’t even understand it when you find out) I’ll be honest, it’s a bit hard to read. Not because of the language, but because it’s so real it’s almost painful. How Chbosky wound up love, pain, trauma, happiness, and depression into one novel so seamlessly, I have no idea.
I also totally love the cover. Some people think it’s hideous, but I think it’s just Charlie.
Do I even need to mention the fact that this book is totally quotable? The quote at the top is my favorite, but below are some awesome others!
“So, this is my life. And I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for all the right reasons.”
While I don’t recommend this to everyone, and certainly not to those under 14, I think everyone should read it at some point just to form an opinion. If you are currently a teen, I pretty much guarentee you’ll love it to death. Thanks to my friend Mark for pursuading me to read this!
“And in that moment, I swear we were all infinite.”