A couple days ago I finished reading one of my favorite books again, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Even on this, the fourth go round, it astounds me how perfectly the author Stephen Chbosky captures how it is to be an awkward teenager who's just figuring himself out and finding The Smiths, Catcher in the Rye, and audience participation at The Rocky Horror Picture Show through new, "weird" friends and a perceptive teacher. The book is just amazing and it makes my insides smile to know that it's also widely read. I'd go into more detail, but I love it too much not to let you experience it fully for yourself. Just to give you an idea though, here's a sample of the way Charlie, the protagonist, thinks. He's just finished making his first mixtape for a friend.
"I had an amazing feeling when I finally held the tape in my hand. I just thought to myself that in the palm of my hand, there was this one tape that had all of these memories and feelings and great joy and sadness. Right there in the palm of my hand. And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope that they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person."
Ach, nailed it. Really, find it and read it. I've never been in a bookstore that didn't have it (some put it in young adult, some in regular fiction) and I see it pop up in used bookstores regularly. Also, praise and glory to Carole for giving me the book in the first place. Whoo.