Kelly's Writing

Queens College

“We Love You, Charlie Freeman”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 11:25 pm on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s “We Love You, Charlie Freeman,” was a very interesting and strange book to read. For much of the beginning of the book (and even half way through it) I had no idea where things were going and what the climax would be like. I still have so many unanswered questions after finishing the book, and I’m not even quite sure what the main theme/genre was. I also had a hard time making connections to past works we’ve read because this story was so different. I want to say it resembles “Invisible Man” because they both have a coming-of-age feeling. And of course, it deals with prejudice and racism. I think both characters face prejudice from whites but also their own race. I also feel like both books have this kind of walking-on-thin-ice, thriller kind of feel, where you never know what to expect in the next chapter. I expected this book to be a cheerful, feel good story, but it was actually the complete opposite. There were always haunting and troubling revelations in each chapter that led you to believe that this characters whole world was close to falling completely apart. Both characters (Charlotte and the Invisible Man) face so many different hurdles that you’re not sure when all this tension and confusion will finally blow up in their faces. Both characters also seem to be trapped by the world around them. Charlotte is either trapped in the world of her mother, the Toneybee Institute, or Adia, until the end when we learn she moves away from it all and creates her own world and life. The invisible man also has this sort of ending, where he manages to find a place where he can be himself and is not pressured by the people and prejudices around him.

I also have to mention that I was really taken aback by the ending because it just didn’t offer the closure I was expecting (and sort of needed). Things are just left in the air. Each person in the Freeman family is troubled and trapped in their own messes. But by the end, there’s really no resolution. Each of the characters are greatly effected and shaped by what occurred in the institute. You can say that Charlotte manages to escape and makes a life for herself, but even then she is brought back to that troubling place each year to visit Charlie.

One last thing that really bugged me was this: What was the point of  the chalk Dr. Paulsen always had with her? It was never explained! That was so frustrating because I really don’t know what to make of it. Any ideas? Let me know!


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