Book #19

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

An all-time favourite of mine; something I return to every now and then when I need some friends and some nostalgia. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I’ve done this, but nothing gets old, I love it each and every time. I always smile and cry at the same parts, and I always, always find new parts to make me smile and cry.

Written in the form of letters, to an unknown person, Charlie creates accounts of his life. As he travels through the nightmares of high school, and dealing with unresolved trauma, he becomes a much loved figure. He has a sort of honest naivety that surrounds him, as well as wonderful intellect and depth. He says how he feels, or what he thinks, and you nod because you know what he means.

We don’t have a plot as such, instead we follow Charlie around as he takes on major issues such as love, friendship, homosexuality and sexual assault. Aside from these massive themes, the book also allows the reader to step back and think about the small things that cause happiness in life, and what really matters.

Charlie will teach you lots of things, although the main thing I always take away from his story is positive. Although Charlie and his friends have their flaws, I believe he’s telling us that people come in all kinds of different packages, urging us to remain true to ourselves, and to pursue happiness as far as possible. It's a beautiful and important message.

I think this book is a rarity, and although it's one I believe everyone should attempt at least once, I’m not sure I would feel the same about it if I hadn’t had it with me since I was around fourteen. It has grown with me; where before I could read and relate to Charlie and his friends, I now read remembering when I was his age, but I can also relate to the adults in his life. A treasure of mine, I love it.