I came home from work sick today and thought that a nice quick little read while curled up on the couch would be just the thing to make me feel better. That might have worked if I had picked a happier book.
While this book has been around for a while, and I had heard of it, I somehow had managed to escape any prior knowledge about the plot; I was going in blind. Something about teenagers? One is a wallflower? Maybe?
It’s set in Pittsburgh in the early 90’s and is told through a series of letters that our wallflower protagonist Charlie is writing to a stranger. After an 8th grade classmate commits suicide, Charlie is feeling lonely and needs an outlet to share his feelings about this tragedy and then about his experiences in his first year of high school. He is befriended by a group of misfit seniors and the book is basically about his interactions with them and his ‘coming of age’ year feeling like an outcast himself.
Throughout everything we get a sense that not all is ‘well’ with Charlie, and despite his regular visits to a psychiatrist, we don’t get to the root of that until the epilogue.
My main takeaway from this little novel is that I am so so thankful to be well past the teenage part of my life. Good grief, I wanted to just give all these kids hugs and make them cookies and tell them things will be ok. I guess it’s a sign of good writing when a book can take you back to those awkward teenage years and have you feeling all that drama and angst….. I must say, I didn’t care for it.
The book itself was good. The revisiting of high school was not.
Also, not finding out who he was writing to? Uncool. Unless I missed that reveal somehow?