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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower


by Stephen Chbosky

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).
  • Gulp.
  • 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.

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