The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
First published 1999
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age novel about 15 year old Charlie who is about to enter high school as a freshman, alone and without any friend. His only friend, Michael, has committed suicide before the school year starts. Now that’s quite different for a beginning of a book isn’t it? The entire book is basically Charlie’s letters to an anonymous person, a stranger. He writes these letters so he can cope with all the stress and anxiety of being alone, of being different, of being strange in the eyes of the people around him, of being a wallflower.
The book is set on Charlie’s point of view, being actually a collection of his letters to this stranger. And in his letters, Charlie talks about his pretty eventful highschool life, about his family, his friends, and even about his dating experiences. Although he started school without any friend, he was able to meet Sam and Patrick at school, two interesting teenagers who had become Charlie’s close companions in the ride of his teenage life.
This is not a happy novel. Although there are moments of gladness, the depth of the book isn’t something that you can laugh about or something that’s widely entertaining. It is, however, something that many people can relate to. There are people who prefers being alone to think and observe than go out and participate in life. Charlie is definitely that kind of person. And by meeting Sam and Patrick, and by being guided, at some points, by his English teacher, Charlie gets to find himself participating. Charlie then goes out, be in a party, dance, drink alcohol, be in a Rocky Horror Picture Show performance, date a girl, kiss, and even take drugs.
I like the book because of the refreshing perspectives it delivers to the readers. Charlie, although apparently has a mental illness, is an intelligent person, and it amuses me how he thinks about certain, simple things in life.
My rating is 3.8/5.