1. “Girls like guys to be a challenge. It gives them some mold to fit in how they act. Like a mom. What would a mom do if she couldn’t fuss over you and make you clean your room? And what would you do without her fussing and making you do it? Everyone needs a mom. And a mom knows this. And it gives her a sense of purpose. You get it?”
2. “The thing is some girls think they can actually change guys. And what’s funny is that if they actually did change them, they’d get bored. They’d have no challenge left. You just have to give girls some time to think of a new way of doing things, that’s all. Some of them will figure it out here. Some later. Some never. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
3. “Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”
4. I don’t know if it’s better to have your kids be happy and not go to college. I don’t know if it’s better to be close with your daughter or make sure that she has a better life than you do. I just don’t know.
5. And she kissed me. It was the kind of kiss that I could never tell my friends about out loud. It was the kind of kiss that made me know that I was never so happy in my whole life.
6. How many dates can you go on and still not be ready to kiss? I don’t think I will ever be ready for Mary Elizabeth.
7. I’d do anything not to be this way. I’d do anything to make it up to everyone. And to not have to see a psychiatrist, who explains to me about being “passive aggressive.” And to not have to take the medicine he gives me, which is too expensive for my dad. And to not have to talk about bad memories with him. Or be nostalgic about bad things.
8. I don’t know how much longer I can keep going without a friend. […] I used to be able to do it very easily, but that was before I knew what having a friend was like. It’s much easier not to know things sometimes.
9. “I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.” Something like that. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. Maybe that is what makes people “participate.”
10. It was a great way to sit alone at a party and still feel a part of things.
11. All I hope is that my sister feels beautiful, and her new guy makes her feel beautiful. I hope that Craig doesn’t make Sam feel that her prom isn’t special just because he’s older. I hope the same for Mary Elizabeth with Peter. I hope Brad and Patrick decide to make up and dance in front of the whole school. And that Alice is secretly a lesbian and in love with Brad’s girlfriend Nancy (and vice versa), so nobody feels left out. I hope the deejay is as good as everyone said I was last Friday. And I hope everyone’s pictures turn out great and never become old photographs and nobody gets in a car accident. That is what I really hope.
12. I wasn’t happy about Craig and Sam breaking up. Not at all. I never once thought that it would mean Sam might start liking me. All I cared about was the fact that Sam got really hurt. And I guess I realized at that moment that I really did love her. Because there was nothing to gain, and that didn’t matter.
13. “Charlie, you’re one of the most gifted people I’ve ever known. And I don’t mean in terms of my other students. I mean in terms of anyone I’ve ever met. That’s why I gave you the extra work. I was wondering if you were aware of that?” “I guess so. I don’t know.” I felt really strange. I didn’t know where this was coming from. I just wrote some essays. “Charlie. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable. I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.”
14. I love my mom so much. I don’t care if that’s corny to say. I think on my next birthday, I’m going to buy her a present. I think that should be the tradition. The kid gets gifts from everybody, and he buys one present for his mom since she was there, too. I think that would be nice.
15. “Charlie, don’t you get it? I can’t feel that. It’s sweet and everything, but it’s like you’re not even there sometimes. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”
16. “But I kind of figured out that everything I dreamt about my aunt Helen was true. And after a while, I realized that it happened every Saturday when we would watch television. […] It’s like if I blamed my aunt Helen, I would have to blame her dad for hitting her and the friend of the family that fooled around with her when she was little.
17. I’m not the way I am because of what I dreamt and remembered about my aunt Helen. That’s what I figured out when things got quiet. And I think that’s very important to know. It made things feel clear and together. Don’t get me wrong. I know what happened was important. And I needed to remember it. But it’s like when my doctor told me the story of these two brothers whose dad was a bad alcoholic. One brother grew up to be a successful carpenter who never drank. The other brother ended up being a drinker as bad as his dad was. When they asked the first brother why he didn’t drink, he said that after he saw what it did to his father, he could never bring himself to even try it. When they asked the other brother, he said that he guessed he learned how to drink on his father’s knee. So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
18. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Like Sam said. Because it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.