Thursday, September 3, 2009

Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second

I simply cannot say enough about the book The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second.

The book was recommended to me by Matt from Debriefing the Boys way back in Oct 2008. I actually went to Borders and bought the book because he had me so excited about reading it. And being true to myself, I bought it, started reading a few pages, and then left it on my bookshelf to collect dust. I'm really not a book-reading type of person.

So almost a year goes by.. August 23rd.. I'm packing for my trip to Hawaii and I think Hmm... maybe I should have something to read on the plane. So I walk over to my bookcase and contemplate trying to read through Dan Brown's Deception Point for the 5th time. Every time I pick it up, I end up having to re-read it from the beginning because I've forgotten what has happened. And each time, I get to about page 133 and I just put it down again. So maybe Deception Point isn't the best choice. And then I see this yellowish-orange book (I'm slightly color-blind, don't make fun of me), slightly bigger than the others, sticking out. Not remembering what it is, I pull it out a little, and see that it's the book that I had bought almost a year ago. I re-read the backcover summary and it sparks my interest again. 6 hour plane flight... I think I could get through a lot of it while strapped into a tiny little thing they call a seat. So I take it off the shelf and pack it in my backpack.

I'm on the plane and I'm sitting alone because my friend who I was flying with decided that he'd rather have an aisle seat than sit next to me. Bastard. The overhead entertainment system is on (no personal TV... what kind of cheap ass airline is this??) and it's playing an episode of AMC's Mad Men. I've heard only good things about it so I take out my earphones so I can start watching. I try to plug them into the jack on my arm rest... it won't go in. I try jamming it in a few times (as if that would miraculously make it fit) and that doesn't work. I lift the arm rest up to examine the jack and it turns out that someone must've broken off their earphone plug and half of it was wedged in there. Great... so no audio for me. But wait! I packed a book to read! I take out "The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second" and open it up to where I placed my bookmark, the receipt from Borders which I folded hot dog style.

I re-read the last few paragraphs of the previous "chapter" to try and remember what I had read. And I say "chapter" because the book is written in journal/diary form. So each "chapter" is really a day or an entry in Charlie's journal. I start reading and reading and reading. I find myself flipping through page after page, not able to put the book down. I don't even realize that the flight attendants are pushing their giant food and beverage carts down the aisle. I am completely glued to the book. Even though it's a 6 hour flight, I don't finish the book on the plane. But I take out the book every chance I get: before bed, while laying out on the beach, while waiting for my turn for the bathroom, etc.

The book is smart, witty, and just incredibly hilarious. I find myself laughing - out loud - in certain parts of the book (which made my friends give me funny looks). Charlie is such a fun, cute, nerdy character. I guess I just have a soft spot for nerds. I'm definitely drawn to the nerdy type... Jamie... Jason... and now Charlie. :P

You see, Charlie is a out-of-the-closet gay teenager going to high school in a town near Chicago. He has overbearing parents that like to tell him what to do. He's the goalkeeper on his school's varsity soccer team, but he's also the geeky choir boy. Where can I find me one of those in real life? And during the few months that these journal entries are made, he finds himself in a relationship with a new boy in town, Rob. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the two of them, but I will say that they've made me let out multiple "awww"s throughout the book. There are so many instances when I would find myself with a grin from ear to ear because I just think the two of them are so damn cute!

I really don't want to spoil the book for anyone so I really don't know what else I should talk about here. But I guess I can say that the book is very enjoyable and powerful. I found myself going through lots of emotions while I was reading it: happiness, sadness, frustration, sympathy, anger... I'm not sure what other book has elicited so many emotions from me. This book is just freakin' amazing, ok!?

So I seriously urge all of you to get the book through Amazon or wherever you like to buy your books. And then we can arrange an online meeting and have a book club discussion! I've always wanted to do one of those and now I have a book that I want to do that with! Ooo, I think our goal should be to get Oprah to endorse the book on her Book Club!

If you've already read the book, I'd love to hear your opinions/thoughts on it. Write me a comment or shoot me an email. I really am serious about discussing the book with someone!


Alex C. said...

Sounds like a winner. I will put it in my reading queue

Aek said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I'll have to look into it, but not now as I have to study for anatomy and such. >.>

letopho said...

I've been bored and lonely and the internet has been failing to entertain.

I love books written in Journal form. I recommend "Perks of Being a Wallflower." It's written as a complilation of letters. Though the main character is straight, he encounters many gay situations.

That's my recommendation! Thanks for yours!

Yao said...

Thanks for sharing. When it comes to reading, we are like you. But sounds like you found one that draws you in. We'll take a stab too.