Charlie Kelmeckis is the main protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Through the course of the novel, he narrates the story by writing a series of letters to an anonymous person. Charlie is a shy and caring person, but also has a lot of guilt. He is extremely thoughtful, and this leads him to very good and very bad places. He sees things, and he understands, he's a wallflower. He's also a loving guy, who takes good care of his friends. Charlie was born on December 24, 1975. Mentioned in the book, after he turns 16, he goes for his driver's test. Charlie is the youngest child, after his older brother and sister. When his Aunt was alive, she lived with Charlie and his family for a few years until his birthday, when she got into a car accident. His Aunt Helen used to give him books to read, even though they were "too old for him", but Charlie enjoyed them enough that his dad shrugged it off. Charlie was a very curious child and often asked what the "bad thing" was that happened to his Aunt Helen, and why it led her to live with them. When he was seven years old, he stopped asking after his Aunt Helen started crying. Charlie was punished with a slap from his dad and was sent to his room, crying. It wasn't until much later that his mom told Charlie what happened to his Aunt Helen.
In the film, Charlie is portrayed by Logan Lerman.
One day when he was in middle school, the principal announced over the PA system that his best friend, Michael, had passed away. He attended sessions with the guidance counselor to help deal with Michael's death. During a session, the guidance counselor suggested that maybe Michael had no one to talk to and felt alone, leading to his assumed death of "suicide" and Charlie proceeded to cry and scream, saying that he could have talked to him. They were unable to control him and had to call his older brother to pick him up. From that day on for the rest of the school year, the teachers have treated him differently; they gave him better grades, even though Charlie observed that he didn't get any smarter.
At home, Charlie noticed that his family left him alone because he started getting straight A's in school.
Charlie's older brother, who is in college, is an international football hopeful. He is recognized by many in his old high school as a true leader due to leading the school's team to nationals and so on. Charlie's relationship with his brother is close as Charlie mentions throughout the book how he cannot wait for his brother to come home numerous times.
Charlie's sister attends high school with Charlie as a senior. She has long dark hair with fair skin and is notably very pretty (though she doesn't see herself that way and calls herself fat many times). She is known to be dating Ponytail Derick (as told by Patrick) but is soon forced to breakup with him by her parents because he hit her and Charlie witnessed it. She secretly dates him until she gets pregnant and breaks off the relationship. Her relationship with Charlie in the beginning of the novel is distant. However, through the book she learns to understand Charlie more, and Charlie understands how to respect her and her privacy more.
Charlie's father is quite distant from Charlie as most of his attention is turned towards his eldest son due to his football dreams and sister as she is just about to graduate high school and go to college. Although, they seem to have some inside jokes and good times when they are alone.
Charlie's mother is not mentioned in the book much. However, from her brief appearances she is loving, as well as worried about Charlie's anxiety and depression issues.
There is also Charlie's AuntHelen, who passed away in a car accident on the night of Charlie's 7th birthday. Charlie portrays Helen as an extremely loving and caring woman. However, later in the book, she was actually an extremely disturbed woman who routinely molested Charlie - explaining his social awkwardness, breakdowns and suppressed memories.
Charlie has a good friendship with Patrick and Sam, two seniors (who are also step-brother and step-sister). He crushes on Sam for the entire book. In the beginning, Sam tells Charlie "not to think of her like that." Charlie then dates Mary Elizabeth, but gets frustrated because she tells him not to interrupt her while she is talking, however, Mary Elizabeth never allows Charlie to interject his own opinions. One night, Sam, Craig, Mary Elizabeth, Patrick, and Charlie are playing truth or dare. Charlie is told to "kiss the prettiest girl in the room" and kisses Sam. Mary Elizabeth breaks up with him. Everyone is mad at Charlie for a while, but in the end they forgive him because he stood up for Patrick during a fight he was having with Brad.
Later, when Brad breaks up with Patrick, Charlie help him cope.
He remains friends with everyone, eventually getting together with Sam.
Charlie suffered sexual abuse from his Aunt Helen when he was younger.
- "Charlie" is the alias of the narrator in the novel.