4.5This book is everything I wanted [b:the perks of being a wallflower|22628|The Perks of Being a Wallflower|Stephen Chbosky|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347142574s/22628.jpg|2236198] to be. Now, I won't go on and make any comparisons lest I soil my good mood.[b:Tales of the Madman Underground|4906766|Tales of the Madman Underground|John Barnes|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347423984s/4906766.jpg|4972289] is less of a book and more like a potpourri of emotions and feelings, ranging from those rare stolen moments of happiness to sweet-as-coffee-bitterness to black-hole-in-my-gut-horror and disgust. And performing the role of quintessential salt was constant sadness, even till the very end when all things finally come together for Karl Shoemaker, somewhat at least.The characters of this novel are madmen indeed. There's a molested cheerleader who has problem saying no to sex( her own words), a sensitive jock-type who has crying jags, an artistic, attention-seeking best-friend who can't figure out his own sexual orientation, a girl who still carries her stuffed-rabbit and talks through him and threatened to blind her own lil' brother and is in a few words- completely bat-shit crazy! And then there are the rest of the madmen with their screwed-up lives as well. But they aren't all this only, these are kids who have to constantly struggle not to drown themselves but are still able to lend a hand to their friends. These are people with their own colorful personalities and their personal baggage.And there's Karl Shoemaker, taking care of his whacked-out mother who steals from him, juggling five jobs at once and trying to follow the Dursley's motto of being perfectly normal, thank you very much.And though I might not be entirely happy with the ending( I wanted him to get on with Marti- not mega-boobs Darla but I guess nothing's set in stone and he still might end up with Marti in future) and how all things came gift-wrapped to him( 'cause that's not how it happens i real life though god know Karl deserves it) and how he never stood up to his mother, it's still a book that left a deep emotional impact on me.I love me a book that can break my heart and at same time make me laugh till I almost pee in my pants. So, I can say without any hesitation that this novel will stay with me forever and even if( notice the if) I'm old and skinny and toothless and drooling in a home I'll remember Karl Shoemaker and his foul mouth and profane jokes and insane friends, and then I'll pee in my pants for real.