I thought Charlie was the sweetest, most thoughtful protagonist of a story I've ever read. If he was a real person, I would want to be friends with him. I wish I could meet the author. Excellent, nuanced characterization of all the female characters too. Nice job Chbosky.
Awesome narrator. He sounds like a real high school kid, so when he was reading these letters out loud, I kept forgetting that Galvin is a voice actor getting paid to read a fictional story and that "Charlie" isn't real. Like I mentioned above, it made me want to be friends with Charlie. Also, when Galvin does a girl's or woman's voice, he actually sounds female. I did a double-take quite a few times and thought, "Wow, he sounds just like a girl." Which is totally cool. The narrator sounds like an adolescent boy, so the pitch of his voice is already in a higher range.
If parents wants to share this with their kids, they had better make sure they have "The Talk" with their kids: safe sex/when is it appropriate to have sex for the first time, drugs, underage drinking, smoking, relationship abuse, and what to do if everyone around you is doing all this and you're not. If parents aren't comfortable talking to their kids about this stuff, they won't be happy with this book.
This is a story with an unusual hero. It takes some time to get to know him and understand what makes him tick. Some readers said he seemed too innocent to be a 15 year old but I think there are kids like that, and when you get through the book, you can understand why. I thought the narration was very good.
If ever there were a book that was better as an audiobook, this is it. The performance is just spectacular. The book itself is pretty standard; the performance makes it amazing.
At the risk of sounding pedestrian, it was Charlie. Incidentally, his overuse of incidentally really drove me mad, before it tapered off partway though the book.
Unfortunately, I have not heard any other of Noah's performances, but I will be looking them up.
While Charlie is the main character, the most memorable is Aunt Helen. To be so powerful, so influential in Charlie's life. As much as I'd like to go on further, spoilers would ensue.
This book was a good read, but not up to hype. Maybe the hype of this book made it not so good for me, I was expecting more. I found that the main character annoyed me a little. Why did everyone treat him like he was about to break. They knew nothing about him, but could sense that something was wrong?
Well, this was a very quick and easy read. It brought me back to high school and how important it was to be with your friends and how emotional those years were.
However, the main character, Charlie (and many of the other characters, too) simply cried too much! Yes, seriously, Charlie, a 16 year old boy hardly went a scene without crying over something. Weird.
Anyway, I was quite surprised by the ending but it explained a lot. I am definitely irked though, that I don't think I will ever know who Charlie was writing his letters to.
Why does that not seem to bother anyone else?
I would compare it favorably to Catcher in the Rye (which I reread last year, so it is still pretty fresh in my mind). I think Perks will both be representative of its generation but also speak to future ones.
We listened to this on a long car ride--my husband and I plus our kids, 8 and 14 yrs. We all loved it and were deeply moved. Truly a rare book, exceptional.
The performance. Wow. They could not have picked a better voice for Charlie. Not only that, but the voices that Galvin used for the other characters were fantastic.
I related to it better than I did in high school...maybe because of the benefit of over a decade of hindsight. I'm not sure. Charlie remains the anonymous wallflower who I remember empathizing with as a teenager. So many of us who have grown up as introverts can recall wanting to "participate" more, and the impact that connecting with people who accepted us as we were had on us.
The writing is at some times juvenile...as it should be. It is done in the voice of a young, adolescent writer. Chbosky's writing is sometimes clunky and pretentious. It's supposed to be. Charlie is wise beyond his years, but he is still a teenager.
The genius of the story is the performance (not just by the narrator, but by the author).
I got this as a Daily Deal months ago, but it would have been worth the credit. If you never read this as a teenager, I recommend it. If you did read it...that's all the more reason to hear it performed this way. A huge bravo to Noah Galvin.
I am amazed that people could compare the two books. I found Perks to be gooie with pretension and endlessly smurfy with attempted cleverness. Yuck. Somehow the narrator managed to make it even more corny with his 'adorable' diction intoning the simple pleasures of his profound little excursions through adolescence. There was not a single funny moment and I couldn't wait for it to end.
Something that was not written for coming of age high-school kids.
Alex from Apples text to speech engine
It made me think about what makes a book disappointing; a monotonous progression of obvious ideas presented as if they were profound insights. It also makes me want to read Catcher in the Rye again to see if I can determine what made it a great book.
SPOLIER ALERT!!! I really liked the story, but have no clue why they had to end the story the way they did. I feel I would have given it more stars, but the last chapter just murked up the whole plot.
Love my family....along with guitars, cameras, and a good book!
This is a truly special book. It was one of those experiences where I just don't want it to end! All of the characters in this novel were perfect. Perfectly written, and perfectly imperfect in their struggles. The best thing about this audio recording was the narrator. He really made the experience for me. Fantastic job.