Initial Final Page Thoughts.
So THAT’S what all the fuss is about.
Epistolary fiction… I always thought I hated it, but it turns out I don’t. Charlie- what a gorgeous character. Beautiful writing. Bitter-sweet stories. Music and memories. Infiniteness. Rocky Horror. Fleetwood Mac. Three best friends that anybody could ever have.
The Smiths. I think I am the only person in the world who has no tolerance for this band and it annoys me how in every single film they are used to show how cool and kooky the main character is (even though Summer IS cool and original she is so without The Smiths.)… there are so many other bands that could be used to show that the mc is a cool and kooky person.
Even though they’re not used in this way in this book… they still annoy me. The only good thing that came from The Smiths is this. I’m sorry… they invoke rage in me (and I’m a Mancunian! I should love them. But no). I could go on and on about it, but I won’t because it has nothing to do with this book.
And also… The Catcher in the Rye being the Bible for kids who don’t fit in. BLAAARRRGH… please change the record. Again, nothing to do with the book. I just like to rant.
I know it’s been said before by about a gabillion people, but I really loved Charlie. I loved seeing the world through his eyes, I don’t know, everything seemed so much more vivid. Charlie is, as the title suggests, a wallflower… someone who doesn’t like to participate in life and feels overwhelmed when he is put in a situation where he has to.
It’s difficult to describe Charlie as a character… it seems that he’s a normal, if not slightly ‘off’, fifteen year old boy who doesn’t fit in at school but wants to.
But what I love about him, and I know I’m not alone, is the way that he is able to portray the boring, awkward, run-of-the-mill growing up stories with such a sense of magic and whimsy that it is impossible not to be captivated by his narration. This book doesn’t have a story… as such… it is all about growing up and finding your place in the world. But I think if anyone else was telling this story, it would have failed miserably.
When I read this book, I couldn’t help but feel that the narration was like Charlie was looking through the world through a microscope and he was seeing so much beauty in it… you know when you see a blown up image of bacteria and while it is amplified, it’s SO beautiful and you can’t believe something so mundane could ever look like this.
This book felt like that.
He sees everything in amplification and you can’t help but be brought in by his world and wish you could see the world like he did, because your version is so dull compared to his.
I LOVE Sam and Patrick. I was so worried that these two were going to be patronising and condescending towards Charlie, who I had already decided was going to be my best friend. But they weren’t! The two of them, who are both are going through some really horrifying stuff too, really take Charlie under their wing and show him what it is like to participate in life. And I love what Charlie becomes when he is with the two of them. He really falls into place with them. The bit when they are in the pick-up truck instantly became one of my favourite scenes in literature.
Though… I must say… I absolutely adored Patrick, he was such a pure character and even though he was going through things that no person should ever go through, he dealt with it with such a grace and maturity. I love him. Sigh. Also… I imagine he would make an AWESOME Frank N Furter.
I refuse to put The Smiths as a theme tune. So instead I have chosen the amazing Fleetwood Mac that is featured in my favourite scene of the book (the part in the tunnel.. sigh). For some reason YouTube won’t let me embed the video so here is the link. Take it away, Stevie.
9/10. I’m quite undecided about this book and the scale because if you look at it from Charlie’s perspective and his innocence at the things that go around him, the scale would be a lot lower. Not because he doesn’t understand them, but I think a lot of the problems hinted at go over his head and even though he gets sad, he’s not entirely sure why he’s sad. There are a lot of stories that are hinted at (Aunt Helen, his sister, Sam’s back story, homosexuality (which physically broke my heart), suicide) that really touched me.
I can really see why this book is such a huge part of people’s lives because it deals with almost every issue a teenager can go through and it deals with them in an authentic and honest way. I can imagine that this book would really have the power to provide the support that they may not be able to get anywhere else.
I think this is one of those books that you can re-read over and over again and every time you do, you take something new out of it and relate to it in a different way. I will definitely be reading it again sometime in the future.
People who are are growing up. People who love books told from the perspective of a narrator who doesn’t fit in the cookie-cutter mould. People who have a little notebook that they write memorable quotes from books in it. People who think The Smiths are the barometer of cool. *grumble*. People who have always felt at odds with society and need to find that they are not alone. People who love to hear stories of the past. People who believe the importance of staying true to yourself. People who have always wanted to accidentally get high on space brownies. People who have wanted a book to relate to that wasn’t written by J.D. Sallinger.