“I don’t know if you ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist.” – Charlie, p. 94
Charlie is a young man who prefers to live on the fringes of life until he meets Patrick and Sam, two seniors full of life and complexity. As they pull him into their fold of friends and personal dramas, Charlie realizes that there is more to life than watching from the sidelines.
I really have no idea what to say about this novel because it covers so much ground, which is why, I assume, that people love it so much. The lives of high school students are complex, crazy, and sometimes ugly. Through his letters to an unknown “friend,” the reader has a window into Charlie’s life. What makes this story so tragic, however, is that while Charlie is busy trying to mold himself into whatever he perceives people want at the time (Mary Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Patrick’s comfort buddy, Sam’s friend), the reader realizes it all stems from a secret that Charlie doesn’t even realize.
Charlie’s quirkiness was a little off-putting at times, and I got bored with several passages where he rambled too much. I caught myself skimming and muttering, “Get on with it already.” However, overall, Chbosky did a great job of being true to his characters –the voices of each one was authentic and their lives weren’t perfect. As each one deals with his or her personal demons, they learn the power of true friendship (and family) as well as the power of putting one foot in front of the other.