An Infinite Summer

Book Love: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


 I mentioned a while back that I have read a lot of amazing books.  And of course, I’ve read more since then.  So I’m starting with the most recent.

I started to read this book years ago, and then stopped.  The problem with being such a voracious reader at such a young age, is…sometimes you read things you’re not ready for.  (Let’s not even get started on my feelings about high school reading lists.  And let’s be honest.  I will never be old enough to read about Christian Grey’s 50 shades of anything.)

Full disclosure – I have a love/hate relationship with book movies.  I cannot wait to see this.

Oh Charlie.  I have a special place in my soul for him.

In his first letter to “friend” he says, “I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t  try to sleep with people even if they could have.  I need to know that these people exist.  I think you of all people would understand that because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means.”  ”So, this is my life.  And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out  how that could be.”

Charlie is different.  He is brilliant.  His stream of consciousness style letters to the ambiguous “friend” lack the filter that we all work so hard to fit perfectly into place.

When I was younger, I was shy.  So, so shy.  As I got older, I became much more outgoing and bubbly.  My innate nature however, is quiet.  I need my alone time, my space.  I love being with people, and I love sitting a little bit on the edge, just watching.  I get asked often, “Are you OK?  Are you bored?”  I’m great, I am anything but bored.

My dear Ayley said it best: “sometimes people are just quiet and they aren’t withholding. i enjoy the times i see people reclaim silence as pensive and thoughtful time and not label all silence an “awkward” silence. a quiet isn’t always a lack. silence is not merely an absence of conversation. i’m quiet. i like being quiet. quiet is cool.”

Charlie wants to be a writer.  His first sentence in his first story was, “Ian MacArthur is a wonderful sweet fellow who wears glasses and peers out of them with delight.”  Charlie has seen things and endured tragedies.  He is told to “participate” more. He wants his kids to know that they are as happy as he looks in his old photographs.

“…Sam stood up, and the wind turned her dress into ocean waves.  When we hit the tunnel, all the sound got scooped up into a vacuum, and it was replaced by a song on the tape player.  A beautiful song called “Landslide.”  When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was.  Downtown.  Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder.  Sam sat down and started laughing.  Patrick started laughing.  I started laughing.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

Charlie is an observer and an understander.  He is a wallflower.

I’d like to think that sometimes, so am I.



  1. Oh my word, where has your blog been all my life? I need to read this book and then see the movie. This Friday!!! Broadway Theater! See you there?

  2. everything you wrote and ayley said.
    amen and amen.

  3. this is certainly one of the best books I’ve ever read! I could copy and paste this entire post: not being ready when I first started it, being shy, the fifty shades comment, and hoping you could call yourself a wallflower. ewe are awesum.

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