once again be left by himself. He begins to drink heavily and starts to recalltroublesome memories from his childhood. He also begins to put the piecestogether about the suicide of his close friend the year before. Due to the extremeemotional stress and substance abuse that Charlie is experiencing, he ends up inthe mental ward of a hospital for two months. When he emerges, he is strong andready to face what the world throws at him.
I chose this book based solely on the basis of the title and had no priorknowledge of the content. With that being said, I began to read the book with anopen mind. I figured it would contain some controversial material since it waspublished by MTV. I liked that it was written in letter form and that it was datedwhich made it easy to follow the time frame in which the events were occurring. The main character, Charlie, seemed rather immature at first, but as the storyevolved, the character’s ‘voice’ became more mature.One of the initial events of the story involved a suicide of a young man who wasalso the best friend of the main character. It was obvious from the beginning of thestory that something was ‘off’ about Charlie. I couldn’t put my finger on it, buttoward the end of the book, the issues came to light. Some of the contentthroughout the book was explicit which, as an adult, I did not feel to be an issue. Ifeel a mature high-school student can handle the content. Several of the issuesbeside suicide that the book presented were masturbation, drugs, heavy drinking,gay sexual relationships, date rape, depression, and molestation.I understand how a troubled young person may be able to relate to Charlie’s life;at the same time, that makes me kind of sad. Many reviewers have compared thisbook to
The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger. It has also been described as a‘coming of age’ story. The explicit content makes the story slightly jarring but alsosignificant in that it touches upon having compassion for those who are differentfrom ourselves. We may not know exactly what another person is going through andshould therefore not judge them.
Professional Book Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
A trite coming-of-age novel that could easily appeal to a YA readership,filmmaker Chbosky's debut broadcasts its intentions with the publisher'sannouncement that ads will run on MTV. Charlie, the wallflower of the title, goesthrough a veritable bath of bathos in his 10th grade year, 1991. The novel isformatted as a series of letters to an unnamed "friend," the first of which revealsthe suicide of Charlie's pal Michael. Charlie's response--valid enough--is to cry. Thecrying soon gets out of hand, though--in subsequent letters, his father, his aunt, hissister and his sister's boyfriend all become lachrymose. Charlie has the usual direadolescent problems--sex, drugs, the thuggish football team--and they perplex himin the usual teen TV ways. [...] Into these standard teenage issues Chbosky infusesa droning insistence on Charlie's supersensitive disposition. Charlie's Englishteacher and others have a disconcerting tendency to rhapsodize over Charlie'sgiftedness, which seems to consist of Charlie's unquestioning assimilation of theteacher's taste in books. In the end we learn the root of Charlie's psychologicalproblems, and we confront, with him, the coming rigors of 11th grade, ever hopeful