"What's wrong with me?" is a question often asked by the main character, Charlie. Growing up near Pittsburgh, Charlie is a very conflicted 15 year old...more"What's wrong with me?" is a question often asked by the main character, Charlie. Growing up near Pittsburgh, Charlie is a very conflicted 15 year old on the verge of being an adult, but is so naive about the world, the story is more about the faults of being a wallflower than about the perks. I recently completed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, so I thought this would make a decent companion book. However, whereas I thought Green's portrayal of teens was slightly unrealistic and the the worlds of Gus and Hazel were fantastical at times, I thought Charlie, Sam, and Patrick inhabited a world much similar to the world of actual teenagers.
The year is 1991 (coincidentally, I was 15 in 1991) and Charlie meets Sam and Partick, who are also social deviants in their own ways. These two introduce Charlie to the underground world of suburban adolescence, which includes sex and drugs, mostly.
Although Charlie's life did not mirror my childhood in many ways, I enjoyed his sense of passivity. He is a "wallflower", which means he spends his time observing people. He knows more about the people he watches than most and because he pays so much attention, he is able to know what everyone needs and wants. For instance, he always gives everyone the perfect holiday present.
The downside to being a wallflower is that is never DOES anything. He is more concerned about the well being and happiness of others; his own needs are thrown aside.
I read this book in two quick sessions, which is quick for me, and although I felt so bad for Charlie, it was interesting to get into his head and spend some time. I haven't enjoyed a teenage narrator so much since The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time.
I enjoyed reading about a character who cared so much for others and viewed the world with a childlike (if not improbable) navity. If only more people were like Charlie, I thought. However, in no way did I want to walk in Charlie's shoes at any one moment in the book. His story is sad and his friends are so conflicted and doomed that it would be a miracle is Charlie survives adulthood.
A very interesting character study and a worthwhile read for those looking for something different in their teen fiction.(less)
I really had to step back to see the book in its entirety to decide whether I liked it or not. I decided that I did - a little. The book is abou...moreMeh...
I really had to step back to see the book in its entirety to decide whether I liked it or not. I decided that I did - a little. The book is about two guys battling maturity disguised as a book about other universes. The humor is witty, but wears on you after a while. I bounced around between "that was clever" to "wow, was that stupid" too often to say that I fully recommend this book.
Was the author trying too hard? Maybe. I imagine David Wong (or the writer) writing in spurts and forgetting what he wrote about 30 pages ago. A lot of it doesn't quite fit together and MUCH OF IT is unexplained - and not in a good "leave it up to my imagination" way.
I found the book was best when the characters settled down and behaved like real people without all the trite banter. Unfortunately, I waited until the Epilogue to receive that.
The book is not very scary or frightening and like most new horror tries to SHOCK you with over the top gross-out scenes that contain a lot of poop and other bodily fluids flying about.
I did enjoy some of the monsters John and Dave encountered, but some of the way they solved their problems were just...well...stupid.
(Waiting for a dog to poop out a bomb on cue...)
But, two stars means the book is semi-worthy - definitely not for everyone - and for the patient. Parts drag and are repetitive. The characters wonder around - people disappear - reappear with no memory of where they were - rinse and repeat. Maybe, people with severe ADHD will like it?
I think the movie will be better than the book because it will find some sort of narrative center of some kind - probably the relationship aspect of the book between Amy and David with John dropped in for Comic Relief.
The friends bounce back and forth from parallel universes only to find the other universe they truly enjoy is the one inside their own heads. They live in their own universe - one where they can play basketball, watch movies, and wallow in their own depression - doomed to fight the demons of Sh*t Narnia for eternity.
ENJOY THE BOOK TIP: Imagine the book is an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and strangely the book is more fun. (less)