(photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirellacardoso/)
I first read this book last year, which-like the main character of this book, Charlie-was my freshman year in high school. My experience was very different than Charlie's, unlike him I spent most of my freshman year with Charlotte watching odd shows we came across on her netflix ("Samantha, Who?" anyone?) Charlie's freshman year, on the other hand, happened in the early '90s and was chronicled in the form of letters written to an unknown person (presumably to whoever is reading the book). Charlie's experience was one filled with experimentation, mostly with drugs and alcohol. His freshman year was a learning period about music, books, and girls. His honest and often painful descriptions are undoubtedly unique and beautiful. Despite the differences of our freshman years, I could completely relate with the tumultuous range of emotions that are exposed in this novel. His confusion at others' actions, longing to belong, and endless searching for all things beautiful are a signature of the age and stage that come with freshman year. I would definitely recommend this book to any one seeking a novel about what it means to grow up, and the strength it takes to get there.