It feels a little silly to write about The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky when so much has been written about it already. Nevertheless, I read it, it’s part of this project, and the project involves telling you about the books. Man, the boss sure is demanding.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of Charlie told through letters to an anonymous person. Since there are no letters of reply, the novel functions more like a journal. Charlie, a wallflower (naturally), is starting high school with no friends and nothing much to look forward to. That is, until he meets seniors Sam and Patrick, who introduce him to a new circle of friends and a world of new experiences.
I was a little surprised by The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I think I was expecting something a little more… scandalous? This is probably due to the fact that it has appeared on the list of “most challenged” books. Then again, the book does contain sex, drugs, abortion, suicide, and more.
Part of the reason it didn’t strike me as scandalous despite these controversial topics is because I am 25 and the book is written for a much younger audience. However, I also think that the fact that Charlie comes across as so innocent, even when smoking pot for example, that all of the “shocking” activities seem much less shocking. At times, Charlie’s innocence and extreme sensitivity tested my ability to believe that he is actually 15 and not much younger. He seems to cry all the time… much more so than others his age. Then again, it’s this unique perspective that makes The Perks of Being a Wallflower different than other coming of age stories.
Despite his tendency towards waterworks, Charlie is a main character worth rooting for. And I enjoyed rooting for him.