Being demure, and as a consequence, often awkward, Charlie has a difficult time starting freshman year. Add in the fact that he has no friends, and well, that’s really just the icing on the cake.

Sounds like a typical coming-of-age story at first glance, which, without the painfully human characters, it would be.
The book is written as a series of journal entries each addressed to a person merely called “Friend.” Every few days or so, Charlie recounts his experiences in and outside of school to his journal in very explicit detail. He even expressly states that he writes lke he talks, so the style is very simple. At times this makes the reader wish for something wish for something more exciting, but I think in this way the author is quite clever; he never strays from his narrative, and it makes Charlie all the more solid a character.

Patrick and Sam, two seniors, befriend him early on in the story, but he doesn’t come to know their true colors until much later. These two characters are by far two of the most intricate in the entire novel. Patrick, while seeming to accept eveyone he meets, is in fact in love with a very superficial person. Sam does much the same.
What really makes this book magicial, though, is the fact that anyone can identify with it. We’ve all been in a low spot before, and probably will be again. Charlie is so innocent that his character becomes a magnet that the reader can attach onto and get caught up in. In a way, he’s the reader’s baby from the start; and they get to watch him grow. And that he does, because growth and acceptance are two of the central themes of the novel.

I will say now that this isn’t a book for anyone say, younger than 14, just because of the adult content. And because of the candidness, well…

If you want to see the movie adaption, please do. It was fantastically done. Perhaps even better than the book! 😀 Everyone gave sincere performances, so it’s worth the look.