February 21, 2019, 10:46:50 AM

Author Topic: Initial Reactions to the Book  (Read 851 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

November 04, 2012, 01:10:27 PM


  • You can't get any smarter than this
  • Forum Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 286
I finally finished reading Perks... last night. It took me a while because I mostly read while commuting, but in a way it was better because I was able to take it in more slowly. I must say the way my feelings about this book changed as I read it was kind of amazing. As I picked it up, I actually kind of expected it to be nothing special. But then, kind of slowly, I got to know Charlie and Patrick and Sam and the way Charlie tells his daily stories and the way Patrick and Sam befriended him was just so sweet and amazing. Up until the very end I was in love with this book. But then the final twist about Aunt Helen was revealed and, well, I don't know - I just felt that it came out of nowhere (even though I had been wondering for most of the book what might have been the cause of Charlie's depression/past hospitalisation). And even more, I think, I feel cheated because throughout most of the book Charlie painted this amazing picture of troubled Aunt Helen who was the member of the family that Charlie seems to have loved most. But I guess, that's life for you, sometimes the people you love hurt you. I'm glad that Charlie turned out OK, though. And I guess this feeling of being cheated is just a mark of how great Stephen Chbosky is.

So, that is my initial reactions to this book :) I'm interested to know what you thought and felt as you read it and after you finished it :)

January 27, 2014, 04:15:12 PM
Reply #1


  • Staffer
  • *****
  • Posts: 914
    • Chasing the Tale
OK, OK I know I am late to the party, but I finally got around to reading 'The Perks ...! My initial thoughts were that this book reminded me strongly of Catcher in the Rye. I think it was because it was a flow of unfettered monologue from Charlie that gave that impression. It was, of course, a coming-of-age story that also reminded me of Catcher.

I was surprised by the depth to which this author brought his character into psychosis. It was quite enlightening. As a reader you are aware that Charlie is falling further and further into a dangerous state, but I for one was not prepared to find out that the crux of the problem was his Aunt Helen! (I know!  Having worked with plenty of abused children I should have seen that coming! Children often long for their abusers because - good or bad - the abuser at least gives them attention ... And of course we know that those who have been abused, tend to be abusers.)

It was a sad book for me. These kids all seemed so lost. But it ended with at least the possibility that Charlie could make it back to living and being able to have relationships without this specter of his aunt being there.  It also brought out the real damage that kids suffer from abuse. And Aunt Helen? How different the outcome had she be given the opportunity to have treatment instead of being 'buried' in her sisters house. Trying to cover up pain and suffering just doesn't work. It only makes things worse.

I swear the next thing I am going to do is watch the movie! I'm curious as to how they brought forth the story...