Young Adult - 213 pgs
MTV Books and Pocket Books (first published in 1999)
First, I just want to say, what happened with this cover? I'm not sure I like it. What were the designers thinking when they made it? Now, that that has been said, I want to continue saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The melodrama of this young adult novel about angst, substance abuse, and definitely a quest for first time experiences definitely left me hanging onto every page.
I'm not sure I like the book plot as much as I liked the style of the layout for the book. The fact that it was written in the first person made it beautifully person. And it wasn't just that it was in the first person, it had a level of fragmentation that made it organic. Life doesn't happen linearly, it happens sporadically but purposefully linked moment to moment, just how the way was written.
The personal account was so honestly brilliant YOU WANT to keep turning the pages and find out what else Charlie thinks, experiences, or encounters. The book holds definite pains that are balanced out by hope and faith at every corner of the book. There is a quote in particular is worth documenting here in this quote because it represents exactly the final conclusion you can draw from the whole novel.
'It's much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe be mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things. I'm going to do what i want to do. I'm going to be who I really am. And I'm going to figure out what that is. And we could all sit around and wonder and feel bad about each other and blame a lot of people for what they did or didn't do or what they didn't know. I don't know. I guess there could always be someone to blame. It's just different. Maybe it's good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it's okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite.'
Charlies is just one of us. His writing isn't anything sofisticated, it's simply an expression of who he is. And that's all that really counts, it's what matters. It matters we hear his voice. It's important his story gets told. His voice matters because it is a voice. Furthermore, this voice says something immensely profound.
I felt touched by this book, and I really didn't expect it. One because it is a young adult novel geered towards a young audience who can relate. I didn't relate, and it still didn't matter. I gained enough knowledge even so. This is a quick read, and well worth your while. I would recommend it to anyone.