Generally, I’m not a big fan of coming-of-age or teenage novels; they usually tend to be repetitive and uninspired. However, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was definitely something else. I’ve never read anything like it and I rarely get hooked up so easily by a book and seem to finish it in less than a week. Sure, the book isn’t long or tedious, and the simply yet intricate writing style definitely made this book an easy read, however; I cannot deny that I wasn’t attracted to Charlie’s beautiful story. Once I got through the first chapter of the book, I couldn’t put it down.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is told in a series of letters that were addressed from Charlie to an anonymous reader (presumably, you). Charlie begins his freshman year of high school very confused. He is friendless, a result of his only friend Michael, committing suicide only the year before. Most people think of him as weird because of his easy ability to cry and the fact that he’s so quiet. When he meets two seniors named Sam and Patrick, everything changes. Sam, Patrick, and their other friends begin to integrate him into the real world by exposing him to sex, drugs, rock and role, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Charlie begins to learn about friendship, sexuality, while learning how to understand his complicated family. By the end of the book, we begin to learn that Charlie’s freshman year is one of the most effective years of his life.
I cannot deny that I really loved Charlie’s character; he is so honest, real, blunt, and likable. From the start it seems that Charlie has a unique way of thinking and acting, and you may spend a lot of time trying to work out what’s “wrong” with him. After a while I realized that I relate to Charlie a lot more than I thought, and that we all probably relate to Charlie in some way or another. Thankfully, the book is wonderfully written and the language it conveys is very real and authentic. Stephen Chbosky commanded Charlie’s blunt character perfectly, with referencing enough pop culture elements such as books, movies, and songs that relate to the storyline in so many levels. Unfortunately, there are some scattered cheesy bits that might turn off some readers, and to be honest; I wasn’t completely shocked by the revelation at the end. Regardless however, the book cleverly manages to pull off some very nice and sometimes quite funny writing about family, friendship, and figuring oneself out. This book is a definite pick-up for younger readers and teenagers but I also invite the adult readers to invest their times in this novel. You will certainly love it as much I did, and maybe more.