Charlie is a wallflower. He starts his first year in high school and since his best friend just killed himself, he doesn't have any friends to hang out with. He's not a nerd, but neither popular. As shy, extremely intelligent guy, he lives his life as a wallflower, observing and understanding other people's lives but forgetting to live his own. That is how he lives, 'till his English teacher tells him to "participate" and when he attempts to do that a whole new world opens up for him.
I have some mixed feelings about this one. I find that it's written very well - I like how Charlie starts out with writing very informally and how he ends up writing very formally nearing the end of the book, using words as "excellent" or "corpulent". At some point he tells us that Bill told him to use more difficult words like "corpulent" in his essays about the books he reads and so he does in his letters, which he finds new and strange to do at first, but as the story progresses he does this almost automatically, as if its always been his writing style. His letters become more structural as he develops in the story and I like how Chobsky done this.
I also really enjoyed reading about the characters. I find that it is a really colourful pallet and its funny how Charlie points out the characteristic things, like Mary Elizabeth who likes to talk a lot about herself and who's a bit rougher, but also manages to see the deeper stuff or at least understands it when it's told to him, like how she actually is really insecure and wants to talk about herself simply because she wants to feel better about herself. He takes this in and understands and we see that reflected in his letters and acknowledged by his friends. And because Charlie understands his friends so well, the get more depth. They feel like real people, who could be passing by in the hallways of your own school or just on the streets. They may have the cliché problems like insecurity, changing from a blow queen (no kidding) into a normal girl who wants a good future, but given the extra information, the stories about them, they don't feel cliché at all.
But those problems did bother me in the end. It really gave the story a sad mood.
Although it was really nice to see Charlie develop, that sad mood remained there. Now I'm not saying that Charlie or his friends should be all happy-dappy and rainbows and unicorns as soon as they met - I probably would dislike the story because it wouldn't be realistic then - but I personally just don't like these stories with kids who need to "participate" more in life and all the problems they encounter while on the way doing so, like feeling incredibly alone when you made a mistake and you have to stay away 'till they situation has calmed down or being forced in a relationship that you don't want to be in because 1. you're in love with someone else and 2. that chick keeps on talking and talking about herself and just doesn't stop and doesn't allow you to talk.
And everybody seemed to have these type of (relationship-)problems and everybody has a twisted and sad past. It's all so sad. Everybody is sad!
So even the good things become sad and well, I don't really like sad books, even if it means that they're realistic and could've happened to the kid next door.
So, technically, I liked the story. The structure is really nice and reflects Charlie's development throughout the story really well, since it's written in letters. A good thing is that it doesn't become too random - it isn't chronologically written, since we have a lot of flashbacks and descriptions of entire weeks, the main evenst highlighted, but it doesn't make it difficult to read. But the mood of this book and the theme just turned me off - I'm just not a big fan of these types of books, how realistic they may be.
Well, that's it for this blog post!
Until the next one, then! :)