The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Part 2, Chapter 12 Summary
How It All Goes Down
December 25, 1991
- If this letter had a return address, it would be from Ohio, where Charlie's dad's family lives.
- "I'm just thinking too fast. Much too fast," (2.12.2) Charlie says, his mind racing. We think he might be about to have a panic attack or something.
- Holiday shopping with mom and sis is super stressful, and not in the typical fighting-over-the-latest-holiday-fad kind of way.
- Although he knows what to buy Sam and Patrick, he has no idea what to get his dad.
- After much debate, Charlie buys him a videocassette (which is what movies used to be on before DVDs, which is what movies used to be on before Netflix) of the final episode of M*A*S*H.
- When the shopping stress is finally over, Charlie's brother comes home, and the family has dinner.
- The next morning, they exchange gifts before driving to Ohio.
- Charlie asks his brother a lot of questions about his girlfriend, Kelly. He's getting kind of nosy here.
- After arguing with his sister about sororities, hazing, and the Equal Rights Amendment, Charlie's brother tells his sister, "Kelly believes in women's rights so much that she would never let a guy hit her. I guess I can't say that about you" (2.12.65).
- Dad stops the car almost instantaneously.
- He breaks up the fight, then gets out of the car to sit between Charlie's brother and sister.
- Who's going to drive the car the rest of the way to Ohio? Charlie is.
- He's sweating bullets, but he does it. It feels like the longest road trip ever.
- Over the river and through the woods (or however you get to Ohio), Charlie arrives at Grandmother's house.
- Charlie's free-associative style leads him to tell us his first memory, from when he was three years old:
- At the zoo, he saw a mother cow poop on its baby calf's head and laugh for three hours. Talk about, um, poops and giggles.
- For the first couple of hours, his mom and his Aunt Helen were okay with it, because he didn't talk much at that age.
- After sharing that morsel, Charlie tells us about Christmas dinner at Grandma's house.
- He also mentions that his dad's father was very abusive.
- Lying in his dad's old bed, Charlie thinks a lot of his dad, and how he seems to feel bad around his mom and sister. The guy carries a lot of guilt around with him because he left his mom and sister with an abusive man in order to live his own life.