The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publication Date: February 1st, 1999
Publisher: MTV & Pocket Books
Synopsis:Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
My Thoughts: I never heard of this book really until I heard about the movie. Which I feel kind of bad for, but I did the right thing and I read the book before I watched the movie, so I don't feel as bad about it anymore. It also happens to be on a list of top 100 YA books I am attempting to tackle, so it was a good excuse as any to crack it open.
I really haven't read many contemporary books. I've definitely read more just this year though than I ever have. That being said, my total amount read is still pretty low. I never had much of a taste for them before. I always wanted fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi. But I am beginning to really like them. The few I have read this year I have extremely enjoyed. Including this one.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was definitely written with the teenagers in mind. I'm sure it was aimed at them specifically, but I also think that it makes for a good read for any age really. It's a story about finding yourself and also a story about losing yourself. It's dual messages don't stop there either because I found it to carry good messages for not letting other people take you down, but also, not letting you take yourself down either. It showed us that message that is so popular lately, it gets better. And again it's teaching us two things at once because it's brutally honest as it shows us that things usually get worse before they get better.
Charlie has a lot going on in that mind of his. He has experienced so much emotionally and he doesn't have the ability to talk about it. Charlie doesn't talk much at all period. He's an observer and he is really good at taking things in. But in is where they stay and that doesn't work out so well for him. It of course doesn't help that he doesn't really have any friends. Not since his closest one committed suicide unexpectedly. Until one day he comes upon Sam & Patrick and his life takes on a brand new light. He finds people who can actually accept him for who he is, people who make him feel normal, and even loved.
The method in which the story was written was so unique and made the it all that much more interesting. I think it takes some pretty good ability to be able to tell the story in such a fashion. We are the readers of letters that Charlie is writing anonymously. As a means to alleviate the endless thoughts he has in his mind, a way to talk about his feelings on daily events without feeling judged. It's such a different idea and Chbosky pulls it off so well.
For once my favorite character wasn't actually the main character. My favorite character was definitely Patrick. I fell in love with him right away, and at times I even sympathised more for him than I did for Charlie. I could easily read a story written about him and his own experiences. I almost wish I could read the whole book again, but from his point of view. Not that I didn't enjoy Charlie's character as well, but I definitely had a major soft spot for Patrick.
This book is an oldie, but if you're like me and you still haven't read it. Than I really think you should :) Especially those of you out there who are also just beginning to discover yourself and find your place in the world. It's not easy task, but a book always makes for a great companion!