This was a beautiful book. I literally read it in one sitting. I bought it a long time ago, but I finally decided to read it today. So, I pulled it out of my bookshelf this afternoon and started reading, and I just couldn't stop. The narrator's voice is a bit like Holden Caulfield, only more innocent, kind, caring, and naïve, and there is a raw, open quality to the story-telling that reminds me of "Go Ask Alice", only the story is lighter and less downward-spirally. Charlie's transformation from the shy loner into the sweet and accepted wallflower is simply a gorgeous journey that I loved experiencing with him.
Furthermore, the complex relationships between the characters in the novel are fascinating. I love the interpersonal dynamics between Charlie and Sam, Sam and Patrick, Patrick and Brad, Patrick and Charlie, Charlie and Mary Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth and Sam.... Not to mention the familial relationships between Charlie and each member of his family, even the ones that don't play huge parts in the novel, such as his grandfather.
Finally, the shocking revelation behind Charlie's relationship with his Aunt Helen... well, that adds a whole different level to the story that takes it above and beyond a simple coming-of-age story.
It is definitely a story worth adding to my 'favorites' shelf.
This is a story of dysfunctional lives, dysfunctional families and coping with high school. Charlie is a gifted kid with issues and a good heart. He is an endearing character learning to be himself. He writes anonymous letters to an anonymous friend so the entire book is from that perspective. However, I read this because of recommendations to me and it is really not my cup of tea. Reading, for me, usually means an escape from the real world, not seeking out dysfunctional characters in fiction. I think there may be some lessons for teens but too much political correctness and too many issues for the sake of issues for my taste.
An outstanding and poignant novel.
Not at all what I had expected it was going to be. This is decidedly not a young adult novel, do not go into it thinking this way. There are very adult things happening in this book. If your teenager wants to read the book, you need to read this first and discuss it with them after.
This book is, at times, a heart wrenching novel. I found myself wanting to cry in several parts of the book.
It is true, this is a coming of age novel. It will also open your eyes if you are a disillusioned non-participating parent.
Very interesting book of a teenage boy's struggles in dealing with life. Written as a series of letters. Worth reading.
The author describes a year in Charlie's life through letters that he writes to an unknown person. It's delightfully well done. Charlie is bright and articulate, a high school freshman with the emotions of his age and an understanding that reflects his age level. Like so many others, I did enjoy this read. However, as I lay the book aside, I asked myself how any one boy could experience all the events that are chronicled in the letters within a year.