Laura Ashlee of Owl Tell You About It is asking a few questions regarding each part of Perks of Being a Wallflower for her Wallflower Event. The questions from part one are below along with my answers. I don’t remember most of the book from when I read it nearly ten years ago, so it’ll be as if I’ve never read it while I answer these questions.
1. What was your first impression of Charlie?
I’m really torn on my opinion. The ex-teenager who understands wants to hug him and tell him everything will get better, while the adult in me wants to tell him to suck it up and get over himself. He comes off at first as having a bit of a superiority complex about him. He’s in the process of learning about books, music, and really just how to survive high school. While this stuff is new to him, he tends to take these things on as if he invented them, and him saying “I hope you do not find this difficult to follow” at one point left a bad taste in my mouth. I know he’s being considerate, but I also get the impression that he thinks this stuff is so intense that it would be difficult to follow as an outsider looking in, and really it’s not. I do understand him behaving this way, because I too get excited when I discover a new song, book, movie, etc. that I enjoy, but something about the way he goes about discussing these things bothers me. Perhaps it’s because he’s ten years younger than I am now and I have trouble following book in the point-of-view of a teenager. This is one of the reasons I don’t read YA, because I can’t relate to the narrator or feel comfortable with them. That’s not to say Charlie is a bad character, and that’s not to say this isn’t a good book, but I personally don’t care a lot for him just yet. That being said, I am enjoying the book in general, but the enjoyment is coming from the brief sketches of the older characters more than from Charlie. Hopefully my opinion changes in time. I’ll stop rambling about Charlie now.
2. What about Sam and Patrick?
They are certainly an interesting duo, aren’t they? I love how Charlie thought they were dating at first. I’m not just saying this because Emma Watson is in the movie, but I feel like Sam and Patrick are to Charlie what Hermione and Ron are to Harry in Harry Potter. Does anyone else see that? They’re both curious about him at first, they’re very supportive of him even if he’s just getting the hang of things, and they accept him despite his differences. Now I’m starting to see why I don’t like Charlie much yet, because it took me several years to actually like Harry as a character. All in good time, perhaps, but I do like Sam and Patrick. They’re the new friends he’s been hoping for, and they are his rock.
3. What do you think about Bill’s comment that Charlie needs to start participating in life?
I will admit that I am guilty of this one to an extent. While I do try to spend time with friends, sometimes I have no interest in being around anyone and would rather stay home and read or be out people watching at Barnes & Noble or Starbucks. Being single makes it much easier to live this way, of course, and I honestly have no issue with it. That being said, I think it’s very important for people in high school and even college to branch out and force themselves into situations. You may learn a lot from reading, Charlie, but you won’t learn a lot about yourself. I think Charlie is someone who wouldn’t have friends unless he was pulled into situations. He tends to sit back and wait for the world to happen to him instead of making it happen. The one time he reached out to Patrick worked in his favor, but had he not done that he would still be sitting at home alone, and there would be no story. To summarize, I think it’s important to participate, even if you’re like me and enjoy being alone. I would have loved to have Bill as an English teacher in high school, and I’m not just saying that because I know Paul Rudd plays him in the movie version.
4. What do you think about the music mentioned in Part I? Have you listened to it?
I had listened to “Landslide” and “Blackbird” before as well as “Asleep” in a different version, and I’ve been listening to the playlist Laura Ashlee posted for the reading event that feature the songs from part one. I think the songs are appropriate for what Charlie and other characters are going through. Chbosky chose carefully, and it works well for the novel. I’m a pretty big fan of The Beatles, so the reference to “Blackbird” made me happy.
5. What do you think Charlie means when he says he feels infinite?
I think everyone experiences a moment at least once in their lifetime where they feel unstoppable, like the world has really opened up for the first time and let them have their shining moment, a moment of glory, a moment of pure euphoria. Charlie is used to being the shy, quiet individual with little respect and attention. Suddenly, these two rather interesting individuals show up in his life, and he’s completely blown away by them. He feels like he’s part of something more than himself and his own thoughts. His life is changing, and he is infinite.
Whether or not you’re participating in this reading event, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. For those participating in the reading event, I look forward to reading your thoughts on your own blog.