Charlie is an odd kid. He’s spent the first 15 years of his life as a “wallflower,” the person who hangs back and watches life go by. Charlie’s been alone since his only friend, Michael, committed suicide, and he is worried about surviving his first year of high school.
And so it is that in the summer of 1991, Charlie begins writing letters to “friend.” He writes anonymously, and chose his one-way penpal because he heard that they “didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though [they] could have.”
The letters Charlie writes indicates a kid who is intelligent, but lost. Aunt Helen, his favorite person, died when he was younger, and he can’t think about her too often because it takes him to his “bad place.”
It is only when he meets Patrick and his sister Sam (on whom he immediately develops a crush) that Charlie begins to bloom. Charlie begins to participate in life, and learns the lessons that everyone learns while going through the insane time known as growing up.
In a word, awesome
Gotta love that awkward moment when you start reading a book you’ve been avoiding because you don’t think you’ll like it, but you pick it up because someone says you’ll love it…and then you do.
“Diary books” have never been my favorites, usually because the narrator’s voice is dull, and the action is all in quasi-past tense (Dracula, for example). But I really enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
My heart went out to Charlie over and over again — not only because he’s a sympathetic character, but because there were many moments I remember experiencing myself. Early adolescence is a tumultuous time for many, and Chbosky’s book brings a lot of that time flooding back.
There’s something so honest about Chbosky’s writing, and the experiences of all the characters. I felt their happiness and fear and sadness and excitement, and I wished them well. I hoped that they would always feel infinite.
6 thoughts on “Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
I’ve wondered about this one. I should give it a try. Journalletter books don’t bother me so maybe I’ll like it.
I imagine you will, Jenny. I think it would be especially meaningful to high school/college students, but it was certainly a great read even though I’m a little older. Totally worth it!
I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I let a student borrow it. Unfortunately she never brought it back. I may have to buy another copy. 🙂
Students are always losing things, aren’t they? 🙂 I think you should buy lots of copies and hand them out to more people. Not only will you be passing on a great book, you’ll be known as the “weird teacher who gives away books and is actually really awesome.” Or are you that teacher already? 😉
I also just read The Perks of being a Wallflower for the first time. I was afraid I was past the right age to appreciate it, but as soon as I started reading, I knew it didn’t matter. I was transported back to high school, yes, but also reminded of how lost we all are, no matter where we are in our lives, and of the great, profound, and terrible impact that other people can have on us.
Well said, Miriam! It also reminded me to participate more in life. We only get one, and it’s so much less fun and meaningful standing at the end of the dance floor.