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.
It took me a little while to get into Noah Galvin's narration. At first I thought it sounded stiff, like he was simply reading a book rather than getting into character. Then, all of a sudden I realized I was wrong. The fact that he seemed removed from the story at first WAS completely in character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and Galvin's narration. Bravo!
Loved it. Like "the fault in our stars" I tore through this one in 2 days. This is a book that will take you through the american high school growing up experience. It doesn't attempt to avoid any part of it, which is why it is often found on banned book lists at schools. I think it is easy to see why (though the author is apparently surprised). There is drug use, there is sexual stuff, some violence. Having said that, I don't think it is a book that emphasizes any of it, but simply acknowledges: these things are a part of the culture.
I really appreciate that is doesn't overhype any part of life. It is not trying to sell you anything and that is so refreshing.
The story is set up as a character named charlie writing letters to a more mature person he has never met, a person who "listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with people just because you could have." Someone describes charlie as being a "wallflower" --a person who observes things and doesn't participate. He tries and begins to participate a bit more often. He finds a group of friends that is something like the 90's equivalent of the modern "hipster" crowd, who likes to listen to music, read books, is not inclined towards pop culture, experiments with some drugs and alcohol.
This book is full of observations on the american culture from a wallflower perspective- someone who is in it, but observing it as much as participating in it. In retrospect it is beautiful for taking a calm look at it, not worried, but seeing what is there.
This book would be most valuable to the adolescents who are going through, and about to go through the experiences described. They will know that there are many parts that are socially constructed and they should know it is all a phase and to feel confident in who they are, there is more to life than what you experience as an adolescent. Experience that time, don't miss it, but be yourself, even if there is no immediate popularity, you will be fine.
Some parents would feel nervous about some of the topics in the book. But to be honest, that is life. I'm reminded of a certain man from Galilee who was eventually killed saying "don't worry about your life" and a certain hobbit from the shire saying "it's dangerous business to walk out your front door" ... it is. There are great experiences and ones that hurt and are sad. That's life. This book is a snapshot of life. If I continue to work with this age group, I will often recommend it.