As Charlie begins his year as a freshman, he recounts his ordeals about himself, his new friends, and his observations about his family to an anonymous friend. Careful to reveal more than is needed, Charlie shares his world, his blooming first love, and surprising and unexpected rites of passage. Through it all, Charlie is aware of a strangeness in him that he cannot place.
Personal Take: This book surprised me. I had this on my list for so long, and in my mind I built it up to be this beautiful writing that carried a monumental sort of story. While it wasn’t the beautiful writing I imagined, there is definitely something raw and beautiful in the way Charlie’s voice comes off the pages. Clever, only slightly objective, but still deeply entrenched in his reality, Charlie takes readers through a journey that is both wild and mundane, enlightening and disturbing. And still, his account cuts clear with the intent of his honestly.
I couldnt’ get enough of Charlie’s story, or of his family or friends. I feel like I’ve left behind people that I know so well to continue living their stories after the last page, and I love that feeling.
It is definitely a must-read.
Audience: Older teens and adults for sexual themes.
Other recommendations: This is the only novel published by Chboksy, while he edited Pieces, a collection of short stories by budding writers.