Last month, we re-visited The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. We were a little (completely) wild about this book circa 2007, but how do we feel now? Does the story read differently at the ages of 26 and 27? What made us love this book so much in the first place? How do you write about sexual abuse, responsibly? Is Charlie actually a little shitty to the women in his life? This + more discussed within.
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e. Hey, guys, Welcome to the Moncayo on one of your hosts, Monica Bush joined here with Mary Stathis. Hello. It's been a minute, but we are here, and we are going to talk about the perks
of being a
wallflower, which was our book club pick for this week. And we're recording this on the last day of April, so I don't know if it will be up in April, but it
will be up soon. Um, but we picked this
book because we have talked about it so many times. And I think also because we recently had, like, this really long. We recently had this really long conversation about coming of age stores, and I think
that was one picked it,
um and yeah, we both, like, have a lot of, like, emotional attachment to this book. Um, from growing up and yeah, I mean, does that sound right to you? Marry? I just realized I should pull up in the summary.
That sounds about right. You can
interject here if you disagree with anything, but I try not to have any analysis in this. Um, so if you have or haven't road perks living waffle or if you need a refresher. It is about a
15 year old boy named
Charlie who is entering high school shortly after his bet as friend dies by suicide, have reeling from that trauma and a bit of a loner, he finds a group of older oddballs basically just like art kids who take him under their wing and introduced him to things like pot brownies on the Rocky Horror Picture show. And basically like how good it feels to have a group of friends. Um, he famously quips, I feel infinite When he's driving through a tunnel with two of his best new friends, Charlie develops a pretty serious crush on a girl in the group named CM, who mostly doesn't return the romanticism, presumably because she is a senior and he is a freshman. Charlie does his best to cope with this while also spending most of the book of mourning over that relationship that couldn't be. While balancing this new social life and not quite working through his grief, Charlie is also navigating his familial relationships. His older brother has just gone off to play football at Penn State. His sister is in an on again off again relationship with a boy who has a ponytail and who also occasionally hits her, which Charlie witnesses pretty early in the book, and Yesto work through that this is partially in conjunction with the sister of Partially, just on its own. His
parents are pretty nice,
if not a bit out of tune with what it's like to be a teenager in the early nineties, which is when the book takes place. And while they treat him. While Charlie isn't particularly close to either of them, there is a slew of relatively unimportant extended family members who he sees on holidays who come with all the typical eccentricities that families come with. There are a lot of little side flats there, but it's not really worth getting into at the moment in the back. Trump for the backdrop, for all of this is the death of Charley's aunt, who died in a car accident while buying him a birthday present on his birthday, which is also Christmas Eve, which seemed really heavy handed. In hindsight, Um, it's hinted at and ultimately revealed its distinctly and explicitly at the very end of the book that is, Aunt sexually abused him as a child. Um, which is something I all but missed the first few times. Wrote it. Um,
yeah. No, I think what we kind of know is that he's looking at high school is like a completely new start where, like the friends, we have a little school no longer talk to him or over the summer have become more popular. There was one of his friends you notably like grew breasts over the summer. Oh, yeah, as as people are off a Z dio and like, blasted him in the hallways. And so I think it's just him feeling very much like a loner as the book opens. And like in search of, Like, a new life for more normal life.
Yeah, and it's also have written in letter form, which I didn't mention either. Um, the entire book is written to a friend. He addresses them, his dear friend. And he always says love, Charlie. But he never says who they are. But he does open the book by saying, Do your friend I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party. Even though you could have. Please don't try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don't want you to do that. I will call people by different aims or generic names, because I don't want you to find me And, uh, yeah, then he says famously, 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. And that's like it was just like I don't know. Do
you like, think? There? I've always
wondered. Like, Do you
think there are clues
in the book about who he's writing to? I don't know. It seems so bizarre. How specific. That backstory ISS
Yeah, I don't I don't know. I don't give you enough information to really discern
now. I don't think so either. I don't think there's any instance of people not sleeping together in this book. Like if they're given the opportunity. Yeah. Now, um, so I just like getting into more of basically why we were like, Let's
read this. So the first time I read this book, I waas 14. How old were you? guys 30.
Yeah, that sounds good. It would have been the same. Like the exact same year, then for us. Yeah. And how did you come across it?
My English. You don't need me. The book. Really? That's
interesting. That's very uhm thing for the book.
It iss Yeah, she had, like, a big library of books that she would let us borrow and like the back of her classroom, and we would like, read them.
That's how I read the catcher in the Rye, like that exact same year. Ironically, although that English teacher eventually accused me of doing drugs, Um, that was not doing drugs,
you know? So
we didn't have a great relationship. Um, that's one of my fun middle school memories. I I Oh, yeah, we probably should mention because we discrepancy it that another part of the book is that he developed this really good relationship with his English teacher who gives him these special book assignments. So that's why what Mary said is actually like exactly. I'm theme with the book, strangely enough, And OK, so you got committing most teacher. Were you the first person in your friend group to read it for you the one that, like, made everyone else read it. Or,
um, I think one of my friends had already brother, my friend just moves like one of my closest friends with time. And then, like our other friend, brother Teoh, it's like I like to like very close friends in middle school culture. You must read it.
I read it the first time. I was 14. I was the eighth grade. My have Ah, friend. Um, his name is Ben. And when we were in middle school, we had, like, this group of friends who would often recommend books to each other. So, like if someone was going to Barnes and Noble, we would like a I am were like, I am each other really
well, but should I get,
like so the state when we have And so I think I asked him where he recommended to me, whatever. Either way, he suggested it, and I was like a pickle. And so I bought it at Barnes Noble. And by that time, I think a few other people in our friend group are probably also reading it, and I think that one of the reasons like we all went crazy for it was just like for how quotable it is like this book. It's so quotable. It's, like, so quotable insane. Do you think that's one of the things that made your friends love it? Like, what do you think made it resonate with you and your
people? I think part of it was quotable nous and part of it was like, I think not feeling quite counted like your family and feeling really connected to your friends.
Yeah. Yeah, that was definitely the same case for me I'm looking for because I underlined a lot of parts of the book that I remember, like loving and some new parts where I'm like, Wow, there's there were some sections that hit really hard Um, that did not strike me when I was a teenager. But like on page 33 where he's like fires, minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and he felt young in a good way. I used to write that like we felt going in a good way all over everything that I could write on. When I was in late middle school, early high
school, we were so obsessed. Like everyone I meet all
my friends read it. And then
it became like
this, like tone that I would like give to people like or lend out to people like I would be like, You have to read this book. You have to read this book and oh my God, like it's gonna change your life. Like I just like, convinced that, like everyone was gonna be better off if they read this. Read the book. I don't know. Um, it's so weird to think about like he's like now, as an adult who reads books. I'm like, OK, this book was really thought provoking or like this book, you know, made me feel hopeful or this book like made me feel like tender or scared or this was just something to pass the time But like when I was 14 50 like, I like wanted books, too, like do something like really intense and like, really powerful, like like looked at them as like guidebooks like even like novels like this, like I would be like Oh, like this is how you're supposed to process the world like as a roadmap sort of e don't know. It's like very strange. I like tried really hard for the newsletter this week and a little bit on like this. Little like pre post I put up on the website to try to, like, figure out what it was about. The spoke, like, made me so obsessed with it. Because I've, like, never been as obsessed with the book. I don't think as I will was with this one. Like, maybe crime and punishment, like a little bit. But like, it was a different level with crime in finishing that was different. Um, I don't know, Like, was it for you? Like you said, like, relatability? Was that you think that was, uh, basically the crux of it,
I think relatability and, like, sort of longing for that sense of belonging. Yeah. Did he manages to find, like, despite things like not being great, like things were still really good? Yeah. Do you are fun? Like going on adventures, which is like, the dream.
Yeah. Oh, my God. Everything was an adventure. Everything, like we did not hang out. My friends and I it was like, Let's go on an adventure.
Yeah. Yeah, I think that is a bit what I think that's a lot of it. Like everything in the book that they're doing is, like, cool and fun. Then, like, you want to do it to make me and my friends went to go see you rocking your show. I'm so envious we found out about it. Like because of this book. You
know, that is why I watched it to I was, like, so shocked When I watched that movie for the first time in high school, I had no idea, like, no idea what was
gonna like. So taking about, um God, I was just thinking, Like,
as I was reading this, I was like, Oh, God, we'd like, need to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show like we've been talking about because it's not cold out anymore, But we fucking can't weaken that, know that it makes me regret not coming in the winter. But I was like, It's cold. Like that'll be fun in the summer. Fucking idiot. Yeah, you're, like, vindicated. You're like I know I've been
telling you talking, saying you should go anyway. You know I'm still baby. Um, yeah, like, did you like, did you always like,
like, Charlie? Did you, like, identify with him? Or was it like more of the larger group dynamic? Do you
think really identify very strongly with Charlie?
Why? What do you mean?
I think like I was really shy growing up, like, had a hard time making friends, and I think, like seeing someone who's really shined with a really hard time making friends make friends. Yeah, It was like a character that I really related to That makes a lot
of sense. I had just moved to a new school for the first time, like, two years before, so I hadn't really made, like, my group of friends, like I had people, like, sit with and stuff. But there weren't like people in my life where I was like calling them up in telling them about things going on at home. Er were, like, you know, divulging secrets. Or like, even like I wasn't like, Hey, I have a crush on this person. Like I wasn't even like that closed toe. Like anybody in those two years. I hadn't really thought about that until you just said it, but yeah, I guess that also played a part for me. Um,
sometimes, like, I
did get a little taken out of how much of, like awoke glorious like, I don't know, I didn't really like. I'm not typically of the kind of person to just be, like, quiet and just let things passively happen to
me. See for me Even in re reading it, I found the opposite to be true like that. I was at times like, envious of the way like despite him being so shy and reserved that he was able to really put himself out there in ways that, like I was like I had done in, like, high school or middle school. That's so interesting
because I always conceive it gives as such an extra burden you like, seem like you always are ready to socialize and, like, talk and be silly.
I definitely gotten over a lot of the shyness in the past week. Probably like three years. Really, Prior to that, even your college, I was like, painfully shy.
Yeah, no, I like don't know that version of you. That's so weird. I can say that when I first switched schools in the sixth grade, I like didn't talk for at lunch for an entire year. That was weird, so I guess like that. It's like I just found this group of people to sit with because this one girl was really nice and she invited me. And I just like, sat and didn't say anything like, I don't know. I was so like, out of my element. Like, I never thought I was gonna move in middle school. I never thought I was gonna move. And then I was like, OK, like, guess I'm just like here and like, no one ever really asked many questions about myself. So I just was like, all right, sitting among this like group of, like, eight best friends who, like it was really awkward. It's
fucked up, though, in hindsight because, like, they wouldn't even involvement and things like I would be sitting there at lunch and like, they knew I was new, like as the year progressed, like, I wouldn't get invited to birthday parties or anything, and I was just sitting there like eating shit like, Is
this normal? Yeah, right. You just know,
like they would talk about things around me and I would be like, Do you
not want me here like I don't know, I don't know how to navigate that. But then looking the book and seeing like Charlie waking feels really similarly like feel so excluded. Then to see him like go up to Patrick at the football game and say, Like, Can I sit here is looking at like, I think, then becomes because it's not common for someone to advocate for themselves in that way, especially at that age. To them. See someone who is so shine feel so excluded to take that one really small step that then, like, cascades into this beautiful group of friends who include him and everything and loved him in this, like, really unconditional way. Yeah, that was one of the things that
was weird to revisit because, like they took them, they took him under, is under their wings so quickly, and I don't think I, like, ever had that experience like I am. I am not really the kind of 1st may grow up to be like, Can I sit here? But like I have had to like, out of necessity a few times in life, and it has, like, never gone nearly as well as it does in this book. Like people, I think are more prone to being like polite, but, like, sort of like the lunch situation, like they will like, tolerate you but like asking to be involved. I think still, some people just feel like it's an affront. Maybe that's like a Yankee thing. Like I feel like that could be distinctly New England A. But I don't know. Have you, like, have you ever done that? Like you said, it wasn't in your personality, but, like, did
you? Um, the only time I can distinctly like remember doing that really was like when I studied abroad
That makes a
rod. Like I didn't help a single person. And like, kind of, like meet people. I'm just, like, walk up to people in Delhi. What do you do in late? Early, We should get dinner. And it was like, painful.
Yeah. Oh, my God. That reminds me of did you have, like, any mixers at the beginning of your grad school program? Because minded and like, it was that situation. And I was fucking miserable, like, but that didn't make many friends and grad school. I made, like, one friend in grad school. Um and that was horrible. I remember that, too. Like they loved doing that. They would like to be like, Okay, it's a week till classes. Or like, it's three days still glasses. They have held a couple of them, and, like, they would work them into the orientation model if I remember correctly. See, like, had to be there, they'd be like, All right, come here. Get a name tag. All right, here's a room. You're all in here just hanging out for an hour. Talk network. And I was like, No, no, no new. It's terrible. I just I'm just terrible at it.
Yeah, my grad school. My program is only five people. Uh, the good bits. Any, like, 10 to start. So Jesus, it's a dropout rate. Yeah, we have the largest drop out rate of any co work. Oh, God. I said the program for the smallest graduating class
is part of that because of current A virus? No. Okay. Jesus Christ. Well,
I think that's okay.
Our dear undergraduate alma mater has a pretty high transfer rate. Yeah, I have, like, looked into it for for when I was doing newspaper stuff there. Yeah,
I really had transfer rate. Uh, that you present college was terrible for me. I didn't, like, make close friends in college at all.
Yeah, I like for a couple of months, had close friends and then that went to shit. But it took me, like, three years to get there, and then to lose them took, like, a week.
Me, I don't think I have any really close friends until after college, like
in general or friends from college until after college
friends were college. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I I'm the same. Like I don't know if it's like our personalities or like what? Because, Like, we're both, like, if you get us in
a conversation, both of us are very like, chatty and like, able to, like Do do, do, do do. But
I wasn't no now that's so strange. No, I talked to people at all. It was entirely like my own doing. I was just too, too shy, so socialized.
I'm like, trying and like, thinking about it cause, like, my way of trying to make friends was like joining clubs. But like the only one that resulted in friends was model U N. But even then, like, I wasn't like close to anyone. And part of that is because I commuted. It's like I wasn't there for, like, the Thursday evening dorm. Hang or like, you know, like just a casual hang out so happened we verge of all living together.
Yeah. No, I didn't see that stuff. I was just shy. Where is that something you
like regret or you just kind of like that's who I am?
Oh, no. Ice usually regret it.
I do too. Like I do regret. I regret not making better use of undergrad and grad school socially, but like you probably really to this I was, like, wicked depressed. I like in both situations for, like, different reasons. But what I'm like depressed. I don't have it in me to try to be likeable or like, sociable or like, I'd like, have a hard time pretending to care about, like, people, whatever people are small talking to me about or like Like I just like I don't care. And I don't throw them to get to know them. I'm just like, Hi, I'm here or leave me alone.
Yeah, for me. I just really didn't know how to like, meet people or make friends or, like, go out or go to party user like And I think, like I became very like, content with that. Yeah, in a lot of ways. Like, I wish I had had, like, more confidence to put myself out there. I don't think like fine not halted its this really tricky it is. Some people are just
born with it. Like they can just walk into a room and be like, I, uh, have something to offer. Yeah. What would you like?
Yeah, that's interesting to think about. Like for the longest time, it considered
myself to be very extroverted. And then I didn't really realize until the last couple of years that I'm actually very introverted, and I think I like I have been secretly and just like lying to myself because I thought being extroverted was the right answer.
Yeah, I know I'm very extroverted, but like I'm still very like Shy e. They're two very different things. That's a good
point. That's a nuance that I don't think about. So did you still feel the same way? Like the same affection for perks as you did before? Like, I think I
know the answer, but
I'm not sure
I dio and we're always I read and we read this book a lot. I think, really, for a lot of the reasons like we were saying like, This is about a person who is like, really gets their energy from like being around other people that is so shy, reserved but is able to overcome that in a way that allows them to late live his best lives and like puzzle. These people who like, despite really difficult mental hold issues, is able to overcome them and, like all of his friends were there and like family is there for them and his friends were there for him. So I think it's just like a character that I just have so much and before and almost like nb of it. Like this book, like Really like, hits a soft spot for me and I just like I love it. Yeah, I did like
find him aspirational, also like but like think more in the sense that, like he was so good at, like making the best of shitty situations in a lot of ways, like all these shitty things to be going on. But he would he was. I'm thinking of this from a couple different directions, one of them being like Charlie Woods in a room and, like, see everyone acting badly or like making bad decisions. But like, for example, Patrick, his friend, is having, oh, a relationship with the football player, that secret because his dad, the football players, dad's homophobic and would flip out and then eventually does. But like instead of being like like, I would probably or I think a lot of people probably be inclined to be like Patrick, like, don't put yourself in the situation like you're never This is just gonna hurt you like you're never gonna have this relationship like it's not gonna work out like this is going to be a disaster. Where's Charley is like, I understand why he wants to enjoy it while he can, and instead of telling him what to do, I'm just going to support him. That is, like very advanced, a little emotional maturity to me, and I I used to aspire to be like that, but I think at the same time there's a limit and like then you become like a passive friend who isn't advocating on your friends. Perhaps.
I think you Siebold signs of it, though, because you see him being there for him on both ends.
Oh, yeah, like when shit balls out?
Yeah, Then he's like, is still 100% like his supporter.
That's true. The other part of it, I think, is that he could like like
they're just like
suburban kids, like doing nothing. But he likes found so much beauty in that. And, like, I really clung to that idea that, like my life, isn't fancy like we're not rich. We're not travelling. We're not doing anything interesting, but like I can get so much satisfaction out of, just like sitting around my friends and doing like absolutely nothing and just like going around and like smoking pot and just like being idiots and like, I
feel like that's
like, perhaps a little bit cliche. But I think there's something to be said for, like encouraging teens, especially Teoh, just find, like a level of contentment with in their lives and like the situations that, like they just literally cannot control or change because it's like their kids and their parents have set up this life for them. I think that was like when my friends and I really claim to in high school because we were so obsessed with the like, we felt young in a good way, like we would like you said, like, really right that absolutely everywhere. It was like anything that made the mundane Z like, spectacular and like, important and powerful like would just, like, make my heart flutter like, yeah, like Okay, So, like, halfway through the book, when he writes, I feel great. I really mean it. I have to remember this for the next time I'm having a terrible week. Have you ever done that? You feel really bad and then it goes away and you don't know why. I try to remind myself when I feel great like this, that there will be another terrible week coming someday. So I should store Oppa's many great details as I can. So during the next terrible week, I could remember those details and believe that I'll feel great again. It doesn't work a lot, but I think it's very important to try like that
make me all tingly like as a team, like I would be like, yeah, like things are gonna be good like things. They're going to be fine, like I have to just remember that, like, I just need to like, look on the bright side. I became like a psychotic Optimus for a while, and I think this book really fed into that because like, it wasn't ever just them. Like sitting in a party. It was like him, surrounded by all these personalities. And everybody loves each other and it's beautiful and it matters and gives a meeting and like connection and energy that, like psychotic optimism was like a survival mechanism for me in a lot of ways, in like crazy, fucked up childhood situations. It's weird to think it's like heart
for me to
revisit this book in some ways and, like, not drudge up like trauma. Um, but speaking, I just like speaking more about the book itself like Were you? You've been regretting this like recently, but like even in your recently reads like for their parts that you, like, forgot about or like misremembered or like anything like that already feel like you, like just remember it.
I feel like I remember his look like pretty well. Like all the way through you. Yeah, I go Every read this book like, Not exaggerating, like probably close to, like, a good estimate, probably 50 times.
Oh, Jesus, I don't know. My number is probably like 15. I had to guess like, I don't know. I would
also just, like, pick
it up in the read sections of it or it's like started every once in a while. Um, I always like, Forget which order things, Aaron, But the other than that, I mean, yeah,
it's like it's ah, it's like
the tone. I think that steaks a few or at least six of me, like more than the events themselves. And even so, Lake, even if I didn't like, completely, remember like a space like I don't remember like the end was like, I forgot about the fact that he, like, was in high school alone for a little while and all that kind of stuff it to the very end after his friends graduate. But that means like not something really important.
I think that part of the book is also really important in another way because like it does Lee, the book has like a beginning, middle and like end in a real way. Yeah, I think is important. Like understand, as they go 14 15 year old and reading the book. No way. This is kind of like its location, like, appreciate things that air over. I didn't like endings like I don't like endings. I probably resisted that The reading of it looks like a like a year long kind of story. We're like all of this good happens over the course of exactly a year and like and then this whole year, that's like, great and wonderful is over and like it wraps up and you don't like, find out the leg, the house this big falling out or there are no longer friends. But I think like that's a lot of what, like is we're like, you change groups of friends really frequently. You're like, you do something or you're involved in something and it doesn't last forever. And I think it is kind of nice toe, huh? It end in a really realistic way for, like, that huge group.
That's a good point. I'm so used to burning bridges. I'm like, That's how things end. Yeah. Um, yes. So the next
wish I had was I'm interested
to see Let's hear from you because it definitely was the case for me whether different parts of the book like Resonate with You differently as you're getting
older because like this is a
book about teenagers and like we read it when we were teenagers and like I'm like, wonder how it feels for you to, like Revisit that Because, like we've established pretty clearly that we like love coming of age stories like for me, it was a lot to do with his relationship with his family and his extended family in like the grandfather in particular. I highlighted this like section on Mines 87 where he is with his family and I'll just read the section he goes. I think about what my three cousins, who were on Rebecca's Children, will turn out like one girl and two boys. I get sad, too, because I think that the one girl will probably end up like my Aunt Rebecca, and the one boy will probably end up like his dad. The other boy might end up like my dad because he can really play sports. When he had a different dad than his brother and sister. My dad talks to him a lot and teaches him how to throw and hit a baseball. I used to get jealous about this when I was a little kid. But I don't anymore because my brother said that my cousin is the only one in his family who has a chance. He needs my dad. I guess I understand that now and then he, like a paragraph later, goes. He's talking about his dad's bed. I laid down on his old bed and I looked through the window at this tree. That was probably a lot shorter when my dad looked at it, and I could feel what he felt on the night when he realized that if he didn't leave, it would never be his life. It would be there's. At least that's how he's put it. Maybe that's why my dad's side of the family watches the same movie every year. It makes sense enough. I should probably mention that my dad never cries of the ending he's talking about. It's a wonderful life. I don't know if my aunt I don't have my grandma or Aunt Rebecca will ever really forgive my dad for leaving them on. Lee. My great Uncle Phil understood that part. It's always strange to see how my dad changes around his mom and sister. He feels bad all the time, and his sister and he always take a walk alone together. One time I looked out the window and I saw my dad giving her money. I wonder what my out Rebecca says in the car On the way home. I wonder what her Children think. I wonder if they talk about us. I wonder if they look at my family and wonder who has a chance to make it. I bet they dio that would give me goose bumps just now. And like when I was re reading, I was like, Whoa like that. Didn't like that one over my head when I was young.
Yeah, our late at section in the section on mash
Oh, my God, yeah, that gets me like that is so sweet and like, even though his dad goes into the kitchen to cry like I'm not like you weak man like it's like kind of very sweet and tender that he, like, even gives him spot himself. The space I think toe have that emotion, even if he's not gonna do in front of other people. I don't think a 14 year old or a 15 year old would necessarily think that way like that. Sounds to me like Stephen Schabowski was like, really putting his own perspective or his own thoughts inside Charlie in that moment. And like an adult voice,
I think that's valid. It's not really something that you're thinking about as like a
kid. Yeah, like in real time as a kid, I was like, I'm gonna make it like I didn't think, like, do other people look at my family and wonder who's gonna like I didn't think that way. I didn't really like, look at other people's families and think that either. But to me, like at that age, like the idea of quote unquote making, it was just, like, very simple, like it was like, do well in school, do well in school, go to college, do well in college. Then life works
out. Yeah, like not realizing that there's this whole like complexity to it.
Yeah, like the economy. It wasn't really Oh, do you have a piece or an answer or
I can't find a little section. But like one of my favorite quotes now from the book has always been like like I'm both happy and sad and trying to figure out how that could be.
Yeah, that is like a greatest hit, Right? Like that is one of the most popular parts, but it's like that is still relevant for me, for sure.
Yeah, it's like one of the big, like quote. So the book, for sure, and then the other really is like the last chapter of the book, which was one that I think like the apple log E Think everyone hide of skins over the first time I read it there, So sound that it's over. Yeah. And that you do really skip over a lot of the latest sexual abuse parts and just like this and that, I don't sorry, I don't like a passage. No, it's okay. A second very person, I think nothing of boxes. Harley is like, basically, like Moez wellness throughout the whole book. And like how, When you re read the book knowing that Charlie is really mentally ill and that, like she has all this trauma that you really read the book so differently?
Yeah, no, that's a very good point. I completely agree with that. It like to me as a teenager, reading at the first time like I was just like, Oh, he's like an introvert Like he's very He's very intelligent, like he's smarter than most of his peers And he was like, very until literature, music. And it was like, I always like a weirdo, like socially but like, I mean, I've mentioned this you for But like, I did not know about sexual abuse, and I think that, like, for a while, and I think it has to do with not reading the apelike closely because I read it closely this month like
probably for the
first time, like I like, didn't remember what happened in the epilogue like where he's like my siblings saw bad and like, especially guilty because, like, almost guilty, whatever he says, because like, it didn't happen to them like what happened to me and like then he does say it so explicitly, and I don't think I ever paid attention to it like I was just like
okay, yeah, when we were talking about it a few weeks ago, and you had said it wasn't explicit in the book like in That You missed It. I was so confused because I had to remember it being so explicit and obviously gonna be combining the book in the movie. But when I re read it again, we talked about it. I was like, Oh, no, it is explosive now it's very
explicit but it's at the end And I think that, like, exactly like you said, like I just like
woke because, like, I don't
know, like it's like as someone who, like, talks about, like, having been abused. I was like, What's wrong with me that I couldn't see? It was I like, intentionally, like not reading it. So like this time as an adult, I like, actively looked for it. But even this time, like I was like, OK, I see that there hinting at it, but like it still isn't I don't think like until the epilogue where it's like, OK, this is what happened. Like you could tell you had a fucked up co dependent relationship with us on a like for sure, but like it's almost confusing the way that they like. Don't explain where it's coming from,
I think up to the point, though, as late like survivors of sexual abuse, like very often have suppressed memories of trauma, especially if it happens in their childhood. So it makes sense in a lot of ways, so that he wrote it like, as someone would like, unfolding like the discovery of the fact that they were abused.
Yeah, yeah, I know that makes a lot of sense. And it it is like, definitely like a ballot and admirable literary technique. It's one that I've tried to employ in my lake nonfiction writing Eso I totally, like, understand the desire to do it. I just
felt like I, even as a teenager like it wasn't something
I would have ever been looking for. Like I wasn't, like, privy to the signs of like what it looks like another people experiencing that trauma. I think for me I was just a focus on the interpersonal relationships in like I kind of read him is like an artist. It's like going mad more than like someone who was having, like, regular, irregular PTSD.
Yeah, which I feel like it is interesting to think about in the book because there is really this option to, like, look at the book and not acknowledge the trauma and, like look at him as sort of like artsy fartsy boy loves reading and, like cries and is so sensitive have been like observing Do you think they
missed an opportunity to, like, talk about the fact that cause he reads Catcher in the Rye and then Catcher in the Rye, which he is very much like Holden Caufield, like he gets like, basically, like sexually assaulted by his professor as a teenager in that book. So I found a kind of strange that, like reading that wasn't triggering for him.
Yeah, there is. They do hold out with the denial for a lot of the book, like perhaps too much like that, like doesn't do a disservice to people who are survivors of sexual abuse. Toe only. Give it left cheek. Three pages and I've loved. Yeah, I mean, that's really complicated
issue. Do because, like, what is the like? It's so hard to right about these issues. It I don't think that you can ever write about it in a way that makes it so. Everyone who's been abused relates to it, like everyone experiences this kind of shit so differently. And like so there probably isn't like a universal answer. It's
sort of like
like like you don't I'm thinking about, like when you're telling stories like these, like you don't want to go to stereotypes because out does not do survivors like any right favors. Sort of like, remember, like when you mentioned, like we're having a discussion of how it seems so much like Charlie should have been gay like he just like something about him. Like the way that he, like, kisses Patrick and stuff like that. Like a lot like there's a lot of, like undertones where it's like he you you would expect that he's like, not straight. But then, like I responded like But if they did that, there's like that really harmful link where people like suggests that if you're sexually abused and like, that makes you gay, which is like a fucked up incorrect statement. But like I don't
is, like like like I think the answer is that there, like, isn't right way to do it. So it's like I feel like almost if you're being sensitive and like being true, which is like such a like copout statement. But like if you're being like true Teoh, like your own experience or someone's experience, you know, if you like, of research and understand this kind of stuff and makes me wonder if Stephen Schabowski was sexually abused because he's like said that the book was semiautobiographical, like, wouldn't say to what extent. But like for someone to write with such authority about like a kid having a mental breakdown for being sexually abused, them his abuser dying like I feel like that does beg the question. Like What intimate knowledge do you have of this?
Yeah, it's a valid question because if it's like personal than like, it's completely valid. Yeah, and if it's sort of like Voronin's like Spice Up summaries semiautobiographical story, then it's like, Yeah, it's
like using, like, rape or something as a literary device for no fucking reason. Yeah, that's what makes me irate. I remember walking out of like watching the girl the dragon had to. I was like, I cannot do this like this is extremely
traumatizing. Yeah, whole movie could have done without. Things is I
literally couldn't get past diversity and I was like, Nope done with this goodbye. Yeah, and it was like, Great! Made me tough. It's like, Wow, I don't need that. Is it in the trash? Of course, everybody loved it much like the 50 shades of Grey, which is populated same time where everyone was like, That's
not how BDs I'm works. That's a beautiful school. Get that's very playing symbol of use. I refused to Rio Greasy.
I haven't heard it. I did see the movie. I think before I sort of, like, understood that criticism. But it's not good. I mean, it's just it's soft porn. It's tough or soft core porn. That's all of us.
Yeah, I don't care for it. It's not a
fantasy of mine. I could say that. I think. Good for people who enjoy it. I guess I watched that movie, The Book Club that's about like Jane Fonda and like Meryl Streep and like Susan Sarandon and like other a couple of their actresses, you like, read it like it's like them playing characters in there like 60 or seventies, and the whole movie is about them reading 50 shades of grey like that is yeah, have you seen it?
No. I've seen, like the trailers for it. I like washable
baking. It was honestly better than the 50 shades of Grey movie. I can say for sure how
they It's a really good calls up. I wasn't
sure I was skeptical going in, so I was pleased. I mean, like, I feel like anything with those actresses has to be good, but I was like, Is
this just gonna be it? Like like I had to be watched? Grace and Frankie. Oh, man in Grace and
Frankie, it's Jane Fonda and got her name was seething me, her costar. But in the second or third season, they get together and they decide to make sex toys that are ergonomic for old women. Like they started this, like industry. Like this business that just like, takes off, it may become like entrepreneurs. And, like, I was like, they did that really well in the show. Like it's very funny. Um, but I don't know, I was like, this is gonna be, like, really cliche, but regardless, it was good, huh? 50 shades of grey. Oh, God. I
probably have told me
that story where I was working in the bookstore and like it was flying off the shelves like it was like every sale was 50 shades of grey, like we couldn't keep it stopped and then, like, men would sometimes buy it. And they would be like, This is for my wife, like, going to truck out like every time they would say, like my wife asked me to pick this up or they would be like, uh, I guess this is the book everyone's
talking about. Say something like that. I feel like E like 19. Like, Yeah. Oh,
my God. Working in a big service Quite a time. Um, let's see. Did you have
anything else? Oh, yeah. I didn't want to say that like we talked about this a little bit before. Started record. But like there were Cem, I didn't love the
way that the female characters were written like going back and revisiting this like like Charlie's Crush on Sam, for example. Like it felt
he felt to me like a little
bitchy about being in the friend zone like he was like, she doesn't want to be with me, but like the undertone always seemed to be like what she should, But like then he'd be like, No, I'm evolving. I'm okay with us. But she should be with me like I love her. I'll treat her better than the boys she likes like, And that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. And then, like like all of the women just seemed like his mother, his sister. They also marry Alice. I mean, that Mary, Mary Elizabeth. And yes, they
were all just so, like,
emotionally driven and like me. None of those characters seemed like operate in the logical world for the most part. Like they would impart some sort of wisdom on him. But then, like otherwise make, like what seemed to be sort of irrational choices Or like like, I'm supposed to believe that because Charlie dates Mary Elizabeth Hurley. What? I'm
believe that she just doesn't let him talk ever like I'm supposed to believe that, like, I don't know if I believe that led isn't sound real to me.
Yes. So much of the book was, like so true Toe Lake growing up and coming in the age in this whole story. And then there's this. He's like tropes of women. They are either like Mary Elizabeth, so authoritarian that it's unrealistic or so passive and submissive. It's unrealistic as well. Yeah, like I thought it was so like Sam was a
manic pixie dream girl and like, I don't read her like that in the book. But like when I saw Emma Watson portray her and she had, like that almost pixie cut, I was like, This seems a little heavy handed and, like they made her so like in the movie Zany like. And I didn't read her as Amy in the book, but either way, I think in both of it, like the book and the movie like she's like, not three dimensional, like you get why he's attracted to her. But like I don't feel like you ever get below the surface. Except for when she says that her, like dad's coworker, used to kiss her when she was seven. And in the movie, they say 11 by the
way. Way Terrible. Yes, um, but like you don't really learn anything about
her like she used to be like, really slutty, I guess like, and now she's reformed because she's listening to the Smiths
like I don't know there's such little character development for her. Yeah, she doesn't change the only changes
that she eventually like, kisses him.
Yeah, and like, that's her character, Arc, is it? She goes from being like his, like true friends and, like caregiver, the lake care giver that kisses him and that angry for him, not professing his love for her in, like, an appropriate way. That wasn't
same to me. Like I hate that part where she is. Finally. Why didn't you say something, Charlie? Like it was 10 months ago? I turned you down like it's like, Well, you're not doing anything for consent culture here like he was.
Even though he was
bitchy, he was respectful, like on the outside. Yeah, which is, like, in some ways, more important. But
it's just like girl. Like what? Like, why didn't you say something if you knew he liked to you and you decided
you wanted to go there like, why was
it his job? And also Sam is 18. Yeah, and he's 15. Like that's a huge age gap in high school. Yeah, like he's a freshman. So he's like, 14 turning 15 and she's 18.
Yeah, just going to college, too. It's like, why would you start a relationship with a freshman when you're about to go to college?
It just you have The whole thing just feels a bit like unrealistic to me in a lot of ways.
Yeah, and I forgot it was like them fooling around That, like, triggered him, realizing he was abused,
which makes sense in a lot of ways, because she's older.
Yeah, No, it does make a lot of sense. Um, that, to me, actually felt like, very realistic, insofar as portraying, like abuse, PTSD, but also, like, I
don't like that,
that's what she was used for for the entire book. Like something he lasted after. And then when he got it, he was like, Oh, wait, no, This is actually really traumatic for re traumatizing for me.
Yeah, it's it's not. Its
Uncle Charlie should have just, like, stuck to his like, internal thoughts instead of actually extracting. Um, I will say that like him kissing Patrick also like, does seem to me like to be another red flag to the abuse that I like wouldn't have caught when I was younger. Like how he was like this person, like want something sexual for me, and I don't want to return it, but I'm like gonna be passed it. Just give it to them because they probably like I need it or something.
Yeah, like this is what he needs right now. So sure. Yeah. Yeah, like that. He was a lot
darker than I remember it being when I was reading it when I was younger.
It's very dark
because it's, like, not sexual assault, But, like, I don't know if it was a boy and a girl, I might take a sexual assault. And then I'm like, What does that say about me? I don't know.
Yeah, it is. I don't like assault is like a very heavy handed word, but it definitely is like, taking advantage of someone. Yeah, because he does
consent to it. But it's one of those, like, weird wait, weird levels of consent. Yeah, like they don't want it. But they're doing it, and it's like, uh
yeah, um, and then the other piece, to with like relationships is also Mariel is miss. Relationship is like being so positive in a relationship that he's not happy in. Yeah, first so long. Like because this person like has these expectations for him, and he was just kind of fine with it. She is
so unlikeable from start to finish.
Yes, I wish that she was a bit more likable. Me, too, especially because they
introduce her by being like she make zines and like she runs the Rocky horror picture show stuff. And it's like, Okay, cool. Wow, She's like a self starter. She's really artsy. She like rallies for friends and doing this stuff and she, like, cares so much about like the scene being in color. And it's like there's like, a almost positive lead up, and then it's just sake. But she's loquacious. She doesn't shut up. She doesn't care what Charlie likes. Like she just wants to make Charlie. I believe that, like, it could be a character fault where she just like, wants to expose him to stuff like doesn't think that he's smart enough to like, find things organically, like she took a very like, weird like teacher position in their relationship like that, to me, is realistic, but it was like she had no redeeming qualities like at all like, is she really like this? Oblivious to him not being interested in her at
all, like uh and then at the same time that you also like in the way that I think recently and like my past three readings of this I taken away from it is that this book is meant to really be Britain by 15 year old away. Yeah, is that the point? Or is it like this misogyny that's being portrayed by Stephen Trotsky?
Yeah, And that's also hard because, like we said, like sometimes it seems like like Stephen Schabowski was like speaking for Charlie like Like he would have these, like, really mature observations about things and then just be like, I don't know how to break up with my
girlfriend. Yeah, I don't know. Dio mix for He's, like, so aware if something's isn't so painfully unaware, like specifically women. Yeah, I also very
curious about the fact that, like separately, like he alludes to having been hospitalized for four. And I wish that like, there was more information about that, because it's like a little odd to me like that. You never learn about like, what was going on there, like where they just like, Oh, you had a mental breakdown. Don't know why. Take like I just I thought that that was a little strange. Like he alludes to it a lot, but like there's no like self awareness on his behalf of, Like, what put him in the hospital first time like he was just like things were bad. And I'm like, How
are you not there?
Be after that? Like how was there, like never any anything like no conclusion? No nothing.
I mean, speaking as someone who has been hospitalized. There's when you're discharged from the hospital, they just send you on your way. Who? Jesus. There is no like you have to do. Put the work until I get there soon. If you come from a family, he's not fully aware things. Something will come up with a therapist.
That's bleak, is how I did not know that that's so fucked up.
Yeah, your state comes and like, not like you eat breakfast and then you go home.
Holy fuck. There's no like post up. There's no, like,
who knows shelves, you know, involved up here? Nothing. Now you knock.
You must have to sign a waiver. It says like I'm not gonna see you if I, like. Do something terrible immediately after walking out of here.
Yeah, there's animal, you guess. Exact statistic. But most I completed. See asides. Air done immediately. Post hospitalization for Jesus
US A. Joe. My God! God damn! It makes me so mad.
Yeah, there's little to no follow up care for people other, like initiatives to fix that. I mean, unfortunately, like there's no funding in flight. Make things more cohesive.
Yeah, Jesus Christ, It seems like a huge oversight to me. Well, I guess I make sense then Just it struck me as weird like it that he would have been hospitalized. And then everyone was just like, We'll help, you know, could ask flies again, Child,
that's exactly what it's like. OK, well,
uh, that's unfortunately good to know Jesus Christ.
It's funny that will never started for E like I was always like what happened,
like what happened like it was so odd to me. Like I mean, part of me is wondering what like because his the psychiatrists that he talks Teoh in the book like as a as a teenager, like dig into his childhood and they seemed to like suspect that something happened. So I'm like, what happened when you were younger and he went
to the hospital. But it's likely that it happened right after his friend committed suicide.
Oh, that's true. Yeah, I don't remember if they say when that happens,
I think they dio and are willing. Dig through it. I'm almost nothing. They say it was right after.
Okay. All right. So that makes more sense in. So
that was the trigger for it. And people were survivors of any kind of trauma. Like abuse or other trauma. Like a secondary trauma will trigger, like a works response, then like to be expected if you've underground somewhere to trauma in the past.
Okay, that makes a lot of sense.
That would make me sad. Someone killing themselves would then trigger I got really serious response. If they have, like, underlying trauma.
Yeah, I'm just in my own, like emotional experience, like everything's always a snowball for me. It's like I've never crying about one thing I'm talking about, like, 10 things at once.
Yeah. So, like bad part, I will say it is very much for me. Like nail on the head. What hospitalizations. Air like
Oh, dear. Thank you for always sharing and talking about, um, so I guess like that being said, Like, would you still recommend this to teenagers? Like, if you would like, your sister was when she's a teenager, do you think he'll be, like, read this?
I think so, Yeah. I think it has a lot of good messages. And at the same time, I wish that they toned down the glorification of drugs and alcohol.
Yeah, because that did affect me. That, like, the glorification of drugs and alcohol in this book. And another teen stuff when I was a teenager. Definitely. Undoubtedly, it made me think that it was okay to Dio. Yes, like unequivocally. And it's funny. At the time, I was like,
I'm not being employed. Sound like I'm making
a choice of my own. But it was like, No, you made it seem like this is like what you should do.
Yeah, like it was That was the cool thing to do. That was like, how you experienced like
Oh, yeah. No, that's exactly it. Yeah. Yeah. I'm like, thinking about all those movies we talked about during the coming of age story. And like All of them are just like people doing drugs and alcohol. Yeah, Yeah, I would agree with you, but then, like I'm caught because at the same time, it's also like what teenagers air doing. So it's like at the same time when you're a teen. For me, if I was nice to read something that wasn't sterilised like it was like of realistic depiction of what was going on, I don't know how to toe that line when making stuff for teams.
So less than 50% of kids actually drink really high schoolers yet less than 50% 0 wow. That's news Yet So way less employees. And I place 16% they. So only 47% of this, like very large gilt said he reported at halftime. 12 or more drinks in the past year. Wow. Good. 42% Ever trying any kind of drug?
42% tried drugs. That's higher than I thought. Based on the alcohol number, huh?
Yeah, e Believe it about the drugs. They're Yeah, they're relatively relatively low. That's so crazy, Cause, like, I can't
even, like point to like, what group of kids like a group like I can't point to a sociological group that I think wasn't drinking. Like maybe the Christians. Maybe.
But what it really I think, is is it's the perceived. Everyone is doing it. Yeah, well, I can say
with certainty that, like all of my friend groups were drinking at some point. So I don't have, like, a I don't really have a sample size of my life to point to people that weren't leg everyone waas even to get to one drinking early in high school or drinking by senior year.
So, like regular use of alcohol isn't out by 12. Create is about 30% of all teens. Yeah, that sounds
fair to me. I was not regularly drinking in high school, and I don't think most of my friends were, but like it was like a occasional Friday night occasional party sort of situation. Well, I wasn't regular, but it's definitely happening. It was a regular for pot smoking. People were smoking pot everyday.
This is used in, like a 30 day period, so using alcohol like once in the 30 day period over a 12 month period. So like kids were drinking lesson once, only 30% of teens or drinking at least once a month.
Oh, if it's once a month that might that might feel.
That's so interesting, huh? That's good. It is good. And yet every team book glorifies it. And I think really shows like this that, you know, like it's what you should be doing to, like, Be cool.
Yeah, that's a really good point. But then, like not but then like. But it does make me then think about like people just been shrinking in college. I wonder what changes there is that also the perception that everyone's doing it?
I think so, Yeah, it's about the study that I just pulled up is on high schoolers.
I feel like the peer pressure in college was a lot greater than in high school, like high school people who were drinking and secret a little bit more, a lot more than in college.
Yeah, but it is really like a perception of people doing it. Anything like media consumption has a lot to do with that as well. Movies, especially I feel like
movies even more so than books means in books. But like I feel like every teen movie is about kids trying to get wasted.
Yeah, and I don't
get that, like, I feel like it's like, fetishistic of like adults Keep writing that because like, it makes more sense to meet in college. But like Superbad wouldn't have been able to happen in college. Like for the most part, like like that movie that everyone loves, like about high schoolers drinking or like, Um, Project X comes a mind and, like, I didn't even watch like any of the American pie movies and stuff. But I know that like every 90 steam movie was about, like there was a party where someone got wasted, like, I feel like I was so exposed to it in the movies. Like like high school parties were college parties like the way that they they portray them was actually what college parties look like. Sometimes,
yeah, they were like, much less like actual high school parties.
Yeah, like my friends who were partying in high school were like doing it in the woods like a kid should have a bonfire or, like once, like an or twice like someone's parent to be out of town. And that was rare because you're gonna get caught
there was like a drinking spot in high school that we would go to
Same was called the Flats Blueberry Hill a little bit. There was another one that was the woods and one would, but I never went there. Flats were right there in my house, But even then I didn't really good flats parties like I didn't really want to like small hangouts. But it was like known for its huge bonfires. In hindsight is like, Wow, that frontal lobe just not there because, like, as an adult, I thought we were about to go do that right now I would be like, I'm
gonna get arrested for trespassing. But 16 I'm like, What? No way. Yeah, it's insane. Well, I feel like we've exhausted this, but this waas cool. I'm glad we did this like it's caused a lot
of introspection on my part about, like the passing of time, like getting older, which is, like, been up and down. But I don't know, I
think that I I think I would give us a teenager cell. I think it would be like
the right teenager at the right phase of their teen years. Like better now I
feel like I would
give us to a teenager who was, like seemed to be discontent. That's always the wrong word, right? Like discontent is in the word, um, I would like, give it to a teenager who seemed like angsty, I think, didn't feel like they fit in or was, like, really frustrated with, like, some aspect of their life. I don't think I would necessarily give it to, like, a fully highly functioning, happy, well adjusted teenager. But e feel like that's not who it's
for. Yeah, it's definitely more for, like, people who are longing something.
Yeah, which is us. All right,
well, this was good. We have to pick another
book from May. Um, but yeah, I have no idea what that would be. I want to talk about it. See if you even have time. I guess to also do that. This may, um, with graduation and start for whatever it when that's not happening in person. I assume you probably saw of a busy month before your classes start again.
Ah, it's not super busy, so perhaps I can participate
in this one as well. Who will have to talk about it? Um Well, guys, thank you for listening. Uh, will probably we will. We will let you know what other book. If you are wondering why you just listen to this like last hour People talking about books This is the monk A and we do Mom K magazine. If you would like to follow us on social media, we are everywhere under Monk a magazine. I m A N Q. You eat magazine on Twitter Instagram Facebook monkey magazine dot com. We also have a Petri on If you want to support us and get a newsletter and bonus pod cast content that is Pedro on dot com Such monkey. It'll be linked in the show. Notes on And I think that's that's about
it. That's it. I think I think we're out. I think we're out.