The Perks of Being a Wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower discussion


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Charlie's sexual abuse

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Erin Wynn I feel like such an idiot for posting this, but I didn't actually realize that Charlie was molested by his aunt until reading discussions on here. Can someone please give me the exact passage(s) about it?


Nikki He doesn't remember that he was sexually abused by his aunt until he and Sam are...fooling around. I don't know the exact passage but it's after graduation, while Sam is packing up to leave for college. That is why he stops her. He then falls asleep on her couch and is woken up by a dream where he recalls his aunt molesting him. Hope that helps!


Carly Oh, I almost forgot that. I own the book, too. It's been awhile since I've read it. I need to re-read that...interesting.


 Jenni Rascal don't worry... I didn't know either until reading this. Now I'm going to go and reread this book.


rachel page 217: It was like everything made sense. Until she moved her hand under my pants, and she touched me.

page 218: And just before I fell asleep, I said something.
"I can't do that anymore. I'm sorry."
"It's Okay Charlie. Just go to sleep." Sam said.
But I wasn't talking to Sam anymore. I was talking to someone else.

Charlie implies in the paragraph after that he was talking about his Aunt Helen in a dream. --'and she was doing what Sam was doing.'


Jessica Rmz Isn't it odd how two people who were close to Charlie were molested? And how he himself was molested? And how he witnessed a raping? And how that didn't trigger him at all? It should have at least given him a hint of what had happened to him.


King Pamintuan Oh my! I am definitely going to reread this book! I missed this! Need to become a more active reader. grrr. thanks for posting


Mahnoor Ansari wow..i had no idea..im gonna re read the ending!


Inah Jessica wrote: "Isn't it odd how two people who were close to Charlie were molested? And how he himself was molested? And how he witnessed a raping? And how that didn't trigger him at all? It should have at least ..."

Maybe he was in a state of denial.


Cameron this was one of my favorite books of all time, and i sensed when his psychiatrist was peppering him with questions of his childhood, i had an odd feeling that within these questions lied a greater meaning, it occurred to me that he was molested during the beginning of part three and was confirmed at the end. One of the most powerful books that i have read, and had a hint of familiarity for i am also going into high school. I am excited to see how the movie will turn out


Wilshirist Weird. I didn't catch it the first time I was reading either. Then I read the part in question again and it was there. But it's just a couple of sentences, so it's easy to miss.


Veronica My friend actually didn't realize it either until she recently reread the book. It isn't really mentioned until the end, but it is a big reason for how he is, as you can imagine.


Danielle Most readers don't originally catch it at first. The author implies it in a very subtle way- though i felt it was finally revealed during the epilogue. It's definitely one of my favorite 'teenage' books. I want to read it again.


message 14: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary page 218: And just before I fell asleep, I said something.
"I can't do that anymore. I'm sorry."
"It's Okay Charlie. Just go to sleep." Sam said.
But I wasn't talking to Sam anymore. I was talking to someone else.

Got it! Thanks Rachel!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I was shocked when I read that part. I should've caught on to some of the hints, but none if them seemed to officially reveal themselves to me. When I first read the book, I understood it, but it did take me a few moments to put it all together. Ah, well.


Samantha I am SOO confused as to why so many people did not know this! Like its not just a few people here and there it's like a whole ton of people!

Pg 204 Charlie talks about his dream he had about his Aunt Helen doing what Sam was doing to him and then on pg. 208-209 in the epilogue he says:

"I kind of figured out that everything I dreamt about my Aunt Helen was true. And after a while, I realized that it happened every Saturday when we watched television."

It's a huge part in the book and it seems so obvious to me that I don't get how someone could read it and not know unless they didn't pay attention or just skimmed it


Cynthia I just got the book today & finished it. I had to re-read the last two pages twice because once I read, "I kind of figured out that everything I dreamt about my Aunt Helen was true. And after a while, I realized that it happened every Saturday when we watched television." in the epilogue I felt I missed something. Then it definitely clicked.


Becky Ownby I think there was some confusion because the part where he acknowledges the aunt's sexual abuse is so subtly woven into the story mostly at the end. And all the other mention of his aunt throughout the story is on the surface very positive and how they has such a wonderfully special relationship. People who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse who are reading this will be less likely to miss the signs (the extra present she gave him, all the extra time they had together, the visiting of the grave, etc.) It may be hard for anyone who has not been a victim of sexual abuse to pick up on these things, but those who have experienced this will pick up on it right away. And we read the entire book waiting for the moment it will.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I picked up on this quite easily, actually. But that is just me. Personally I dont understand why so many people are confised by it. I honestly dont mean to sound disrespectful or boastful in any way. For me, as soon as I read about it, I was like,"OH! I get it! That makes a small bit of sense actually!" It was clear to me what had happened, but it is interesting to see that a lot of you didnt really see that at first.


message 20: by Kent (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kent Peligrino HE DIDN'T GET IT!!!!


message 21: by Lucy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lucy I actually did not catch on the first time I read it, since I was distracted, but after searching and going back to page 204, I thought to myself, "wow, how can you not catch that?!". Also, after realizing the ending, I think I understood the whole Charlie's situations and his struggles a lot better.


Adrianne De Veyra rachel wrote: "page 217: It was like everything made sense. Until she moved her hand under my pants, and she touched me.

page 218: And just before I fell asleep, I said something.
"I can't do that anymore. I'm..."


I did expected that but still I was confused.


Angelita Jessica wrote: "Isn't it odd how two people who were close to Charlie were molested? And how he himself was molested? And how he witnessed a raping? And how that didn't trigger him at all? It should have at least ..."

If he had any recollection of it at all, he probably wouldn't see the problem with it. Partially because he still thought of his aunt in a fond way, somehow he didn't remember the horrible things. He was also full of guilt because she died in the accident when she went to give him an extra gift. Mostly, because he was male and the other victims were female. He could easily miss the connection.


message 24: by Alexis (last edited Sep 19, 2012 12:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alexis I'm still kind of confused. What exactly did his Aunt Helen do? I know she sexually abused him, but how? Like, WHAT did she do? And what did Charlie do? And were his brother and sister there? I'm sorry, but I'm only twelve years-old, so I really don't get it. Would anyone mind explaining exactly what happened.. That'd be very much appreciated if you could.


Alexis Oh, and why did Aunt Helen do it, too?


message 26: by Gretchen (last edited Sep 19, 2012 12:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gretchen Alexis you are only 12 and I dare say you do not need to know the details of what was done to him. All you need to know is that his aunt was a confused messed up person. Likely an alcoholic or an addict and abused her nephew when her other older niece and nephew were not around to stop or tell on her.


message 27: by Alexis (last edited Sep 19, 2012 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alexis Gretchen wrote: "Alexis you are only 12 and I dare say you do not need to know the details of what was done to him. All you need to know is that his aunt was a confused messed up person. Likely an alcoholic or an a..."

Hehe. Okay. But I don't get why she would do such a thing. I mean, she was molested before,too! What is wrong with that crazy lady...Tsk. Tsk.


Nichole Alexis wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "Alexis you are only 12 and I dare say you do not need to know the details of what was done to him. All you need to know is that his aunt was a confused messed up person. Likely an ..."

This does happen, though. Some people that are sexually abused can continue the chain. Of course there are exceptions, but it's possible.


Jools Samantha wrote: "I am SOO confused as to why so many people did not know this! Like its not just a few people here and there it's like a whole ton of people!

Pg 204 Charlie talks about his dream he had about his A..."


I'm shocked that so many people did not get this as well, since its the essence of the book. Not only that people rate this book as 4/5 stars without getting it?


Gretchen Jools wrote: "Samantha wrote: "I am SOO confused as to why so many people did not know this! Like its not just a few people here and there it's like a whole ton of people!

Pg 204 Charlie talks about his dream h..."


@Jools I am going to venture that they are all young, pre-teen. So I'm happy they have not lived long enough or experienced enough to get that (albeit major) element of the book. Just a thought.


Mary Nicole Yeah. At first I was even incredulous about it. I thought I was confused or something. Then the truth dawned on me and I was like "NOPE." Then the thing about him naked and "it happened every Saturday" confirmed it. I feel so sorry for him. But his aunt is a victim too, right? But it was unreasonable.


message 32: by Anna (last edited Sep 22, 2012 09:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna  Matsuyama Jools wrote: "I'm shocked that so many people did not get this as well, since its the essence of the book. Not only that people rate this book as 4/5 stars without getting it? "

I find it strange too. Maybe because it was his Aunt and not Uncle and for most people its hard to imagine that woman can be sexual predator too. Denial?


message 33: by Carey (new) - added it

Carey Evan owh?Really?i've read the book but I haven't read something like that!


message 34: by Carey (new) - added it

Carey Evan Wow! interesting..gonna re-read that book.


Samantha Alexis wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "Alexis you are only 12 and I dare say you do not need to know the details of what was done to him. All you need to know is that his aunt was a confused messed up person. Likely an ..."
I actually think Charlie says something in the book like, there could be 2 brothers and they have an alcoholic dad and whatnot but one of the boys decides to be better then his father and becomes a rich business man, however, the other boy follows in his fathers foot steps because thats how he was raised and that's 'all he knows'

Something Like that at least and I'm not sure how well I told it lol but ya maybe you should re-read to get a better look at it. It should also explain what his aunt did to him (basically touched him places a child should never be touched unless for medical reasons)

Some people just need help! I'll never fully understand why people do that stuff either, it's sad really.


Samantha Jools wrote: "I'm shocked that so many people did not get this as well, since its the essence of the book. Not only that people rate this book as 4/5 stars without getting it?"

My thoughts exactly lol ...I just don't know...


Harriet Jools wrote: "Samantha wrote: "I am SOO confused as to why so many people did not know this! Like its not just a few people here and there it's like a whole ton of people!

Pg 204 Charlie talks about his dream h..."


I didn't know that people were confused about this either! I have just finished reading it and I understood when I read it straight away, I mean, it makes sense in a way, bless him.
Unfortunatley some people are exposed to some awful stuff!


Gioia De Antoniis Jools wrote: "I'm shocked that so many people did not get this as well, since its the essence of the book. Not only that people rate this book as 4/5 stars without getting it? "

I'm shocked too.
I've just finished the book (and I mean 10 minutes ago!) and it's really clear.


message 39: by Haley (new)

Haley Yeah, I feel like an idiot I completely missed it too. I'm an adult, a very close reader, and an avid reader it is really crazy for me to miss something this big. I guess i was so anxious to hear how it ended, (A friend told me it was sad, and I think I thought someone was gonna die in the end so I was looking for something tragic, and I was reading it after taking cold medicine and being sick, so I'm sure thats got something to do with it too.) Anyways, it was completely over my head, but I've reread and now I see where it says what happened. I think what confused me is when he said "Aunt Helen was doing what Sam was doing" i thought he meant when Sam was taking care of him, laying him down and helping him relax. I thought he meant what Sam was doing literally in that moment, not what she had been doing when he freaked out.

My question is, when Charlie says on page 203 "I can't do that anymore. I'm sorry" what exactly is the context of this. As in, is he saying this to Aunt Helen, like he can't allow her to continue the molestation, or is Aunt Helen saying this to him?

I guess I think its strange too that this is when he remembers all of the bad things that happened to him. There were several other situations he was in where I think it could have triggered something. Masturbation, accidentally witnessing things at the park, etc..

Great book, I just wish I'd gotten the punchline initially because I would have liked it even more. I was very confused as to why he went to the hospital and all that, but I get it now. Gonna chalk it up to nyquil and a headcold.


Carla I have a lot of question was a bit confused actually,

What happened to her sister after they went to the clinic? Did her sister abort the baby and cover it up saying it was a false alarm?

Why Charlie is seeing a Psychiatrist in the first place?

What was happening to him that they need to brought him at his Psychiatrist?

Is his parents actually know that he was molested?

So I have a lot of question, I'm just confused.


Carla Haley wrote: "Yeah, I feel like an idiot I completely missed it too. I'm an adult, a very close reader, and an avid reader it is really crazy for me to miss something this big. I guess i was so anxious to hear h..."

I think he was talking to her Aunt saying that he can't do that anymore, like allowing her Aunt to molest him.

I just don't understand the link between him naked at his home I just don't understand about his Aunt, being molested and him always seeing the doctor.


Alexis Carla wrote: "Haley wrote: "Yeah, I feel like an idiot I completely missed it too. I'm an adult, a very close reader, and an avid reader it is really crazy for me to miss something this big. I guess i was so anx..."

I don't understand that, either.


Andrea I did find it odd that all the sexual things he was seeing wasn't triggering him to remember. I wondered what his doctor kept trying to get him to remember. It all made sense in the end that she was doing that to him. He loved her so much and felt that was probably normal because his parents didn't show affection.


message 44: by Kei (last edited Oct 04, 2012 03:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kei Tanabe Jessica wrote: "Isn't it odd how two people who were close to Charlie were molested? And how he himself was molested? And how he witnessed a raping? And how that didn't trigger him at all? It should have at least ..."

Hi Jessica, I totally agree with you.


Kieran I didn't know this until they said it in the film so I came home and re read the hospital scene and just cried because it was so sad, she was always nice to Charlie, now no. I need to re read this because I wonder how much else I have missed. My friend said she didn't pick up on his abuse either so at least (and by this discussion) I wasn't the only one. Then again I was quite young when I read so maybe I just didn't understand. Well not that young.


Gretchen Carla wrote: "I have a lot of question was a bit confused actually,

What happened to her sister after they went to the clinic? Did her sister abort the baby and cover it up saying it was a false alarm?

Why Ch..."


Yes the sister had an abortion. She told the ex that it was a false alarm to protect herself and move on from him.

Charlie had depression issues, his a parents knew this on some level. His best friend had killed himself and then he was found naked in the snow due to his LSD high. However, Charlie tended to disassociate with life, hence being a wallflower. People tend to disassociate or not seem all together there to protect themselves from painful memories or experiences.

No I really think his parents did not know. Sometimes people can see these things and choose not to and they knew the aunt had issues but I sincerely think they were shocked. Charlie had always been odd and quiet and I don't think he had a sudden change to alarm his a parents about the abuse. Then with her sudden death any odd or off behaviors were probably attributed to his grief.

Lastly the Psychiatrist could read Charlie's behaviors and read all the signs that Charlie had been abused. However, Charlie had to admit it to himself first before the Doctor could help him. That was why he kept asking all of those weird questions that Charlie often refereed to in his letters though he never specified what the questions were.


Gretchen Andrea wrote: "I did find it odd that all the sexual things he was seeing wasn't triggering him to remember. I wondered what his doctor kept trying to get him to remember. It all made sense in the end that she ..."

All of his acting out behaviors and fascination with sex and what other people were doing his sister, the cheerleader, his friends were normal responses of an abuse victim. In fact when he slashed the one jocks tires because he finally realized he had raped the girl was part of his dealing with his feelings towards his aunt.

However, again Charlie did not want to remember he played the part of someone abused in how he showed love and how he let others treat him, however, he did not want to deal with his issues. His drug abuse and alcohol experimentation were in part his way of self medicating his discomfort at these memories.


message 48: by Read (new)

Read Books Charlie's parents didn't know about his abuse until his breakdown.. If i remember correctly, it was stated in one of his letters that his mother was crying and his father was angry(correct me if i'm wrong).. That's also how his siblings reacted upon hearing the news. They were either dumbfounded or angry.
The only thing I'm confused with is the part when he's naked on the couch, facing the television. Why did he get naked? How? How is it possible that he could've gotten his clothes off given the fact that he was confused?


message 49: by Quie (new) - rated it 4 stars

Quie Oh my god. I had no idea. I need to re-read this. I don't even remember that part.


Larkyn I didn't catch this until I saw the movie today. Maybe if I hadn't read the ending of this at 2 in the morning then I would of caught it. I remember wondering around the middle of the book if Helen maybe did something to Charlie, but I guess I just shook it off when I finished it. Wow, this makes the book so different now. I'll have to go re-read a few parts.


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