Reading a book is like taking a long conversation. The author becomes your best friend for a day, a week, a month. It’s the one who talks you through the day, mirrors your fears and sometimes it’s the one who shows you the next step to take in your path.
That’s why finishing a book feels like parting from a friend, waving from the pier while it sails away.
Stephen Chbosky has been with me for a few weeks now and, though I finished the whole book in merely a day, the young Charlie has never really left me. I still open the book – ‘Perks of being a wallflower’ – sometimes, to read one of the many letters he writes to his unknown confident. Though it’s more like an open diary, since there is no reply to his letters.
But who’s Charlie, already?
Basically, he’s a troubled boy. His life is marked by the death of dear Aunt Helen a few years ago and the suicide of his friend Michael – that led him to a terrible psychological breakdown – right on the last year of middle school.
The hardest part for Charlie is making sense of it. Because if he could find a reason, then he would understand and he could miss them more clearly.
So, this is who Charlie is, someone who wants to make sense of things. Charlie is a wallflower sitting on the fringes of life. He’s a guy who thinks too much and observes the lives of the others, while trying to figure out the right way to participate in his own, stepping in the complicated world of high school.
The life of a freshman is a maze of first dates and family dramas, all along with the discovery of sex and drugs and Charlie just wants to learn how to get through this, among new friends, an English teacher who thinks the world of him, mixed tapes and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
More than that, Charlie is someone who finally realized that all you need is that perfect song on the perfect drive, standing up on the back of the pick-up, feeling the wind on your face, while speeding along the tunnel that leads downtown. Because that’s just what it takes to feel infinite.
“August 23, 1992
[…] But mostly, I was crying because I was suddenly very aware of the fact that it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. […]”
Perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
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