technically a YA novel is disturbing. The novel is about Charlie’s first year in high school. The novel is written in the form of letters to “you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.” Charlie makes friends with Patrick and Sam(he has a crush with Sam), reads books and writes extra papers for his teacher Bill and ends the year with a massive, flaming breakdown.

The reason for the breakdown {which I won’t reveal} is one reason for calling the book disturbing. But what disturbed me was Charlie. Charlie is what can I say? crazy, has mental health issues. I don’t know what his diagnosis would be. And he’s aware of that and very open about expressing his off centeredness throughout the book whether it’s his feeling of being infinite or describing a childhood memory and saying”Supposedly I didn’t talk hardly at all when I was a little kid, and whenever I seemed normal they were happy” If someone can be that honest about what’s going on, how can there be anything wrong. Charlie made me uncomfortable.

As part of the story stew,the book is sometimes funny particularly Charlie’s relationship with Mary Elizabeth [“she said I was the most sensitive boy she’d ever met, which I didn’t understand because really all i did was not interrupt her.”]The book also has a happy ending “because Charlie develops insight”[“But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from we can still choose where we go from there.”]”

But the book is also disruptive[note-I meant to write disturbing but will leave my unconscious word choice] because of the number of unanswered questions the reader is left holding. Who is Charlie writing to? Where does he live?  What does his father do for a living? How can his parents be unaware of the smoking, drinking and smoking weed? [Now I guess we know the answer to that question] And what are the perks of being a wallflower?

A good book can make you uncomfortable. So, I’m OK with the discomfort but I don’t want to see the movie.

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