Characters- Charlie-Main character, protagonist, wallflower, always in his head. - Sam- One of Charlie's first high school friends, his first big crush. - Patrick- One of Charlie's best and only friends. - Mary Elizabeth- The opposite of Charlie, also Charlie's girlfriend at one point. - Bill- Charlie's English teacher, challenges Charlie to think more. - Aunt Helen- Changed Charlie's life forever, had his trust and love, only relative that gets a name. - Bob- Drug dealer, partier. - Michael- Charlie's best and only friend in the beginning of the book. - Brad- Has a closeted gay relationship with Patrick, quarterback. - Craig- Sam's boyfriend in college that cheats on her and never shows to any public outings with her. - Susan- A teenage girl having to cope with low self-esteem after her boyfriend commits suicide.
Plot- This book is set with the background and in the life of Charlie, a young student coping with depression. Throughout the book, Charlie sends the reader letters as updates of how his life is going and we see everything he goes through as he is becoming older and going through very important times in a young boys life.
School- Charlie grows up at school, it's the main setting of the film and it's where he meets 2 of the most important people in his life. He meets Sam and Patrick at school and they start to hangout with him and bring him out of his shell a little bit. Charlie got in fights, lost friends, gained friends, and fell in love all thanks to school.
Theme- Writing/Literature- Writing is Charlie's way to get away and vent. He is challenged by his teacher to think harder and deeper into each of the many books he reads throughout this book. He loves to write, not necessarily for school purposes but for himself.
Theme- Passivity- Charlie likes to be closed off and let things go, he doesn't like to hold grudges or stand up for himself. He can show signs as if he isn't shy because once he starts he can keep going and continue to be comfortable, but starting is the hardest part. Sam and Bill are bothered by this so they try everything in their power to get Charlie to do anything with them.
Theme- Sadness- In the beginning of the book, Charlie's best friend Michael committed suicide and leaves charlie with no friends. It's tough enough that a freshman has to deal with the loss of a friend but for that to be his only friend makes it that much worse. Charlie was lost without Michael leaving him to wallow own self pity. Charlie turns to writing and separates himself asa from everyone when he gets sad, implying he may deal with a slight case of depression.
Theme- Friendship- Charlie came into his freshman year with no friends and that's all he wanted, so when Patrick and Sam befriended him and they started hanging out he was more happy than he could explain. Charlie begins to care more about his and Patrick's relationship than Patrick does but Charlie never catches on. Charlie's relationship with Sam is complicated because he dreams of breaking out of the friend zone she has put him in and hopefully dating her one day but she won't let that happen.
Theme- Family- Charlie's family isn't a very loving family, they show lack of affection and love throughout the whole book, not creating a good base or a good support system for Charlie. Their lack of love and affection doesn't take away from the times they come together and support one another in times of hardship.
Theme- Fighting/Conflict- Charlie's aunt helen sexually abused him and he supressed the memory due to her death. Sam was also sexually abused by her father's friend which causes her to not know a good relationship when she has one. Brad's father walks in on him and his "boyfriend" being intimate and then his father beats Brad. I say "boyfriend" because Brad does not want a public relationship with Patrick.
Theme- Drugs/Alcohol- These substances effect Charlie for the worse. He turns to different types of drugs and alcohol to get away from his problems instead of his normal remedy of just writing. This choice to involve himself in these things is effecting his life and in the opposite direction he was hoping.
Theme- Love- Love plays a big part in Charlie's life. Charlie has a big crush on Sam which later began to grow into love for her. The bad thing about this is that Sam doesn't love him back. Charlie also does this thing where he counts the times he gets shown signs of affection or love, which is an effect of the lack of love and social interaction he received at his house.
Personal reaction- I'm not much of a reader, I just can't sit there for hours at a time and read, but this book is different. I loved this book. It kept me interested from start to finish because there was nonstop conflict and I like to see how the conflict plays out and how the conflict gets resolved. I really liked how it felt like the reader was actually receiving the letters Charlie was writing, it pulled me in and made me want to read the next letter and the next and the next, I just didn't want to put the book down. The technique Chbosky used to make Charlie write letters to the reader was a great way of building a relationship between the reader and Charlie because it makes the reader feel as if every letter is personally written to him/her so when you put the book down all you think about is what's going to happen in the next letter he sends. I recommend this book to anyone who loves interesting and unique books. I would most definitely read this book again and I'm very glad I picked this book.