Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Charlie is nervous about starting high school so he starts writing anonymous letters to a friend because he needs to know that “someone out there listens and understands.” He shares everything about his freshman year with the unnamed person. Charlie’s brother is in college and his sister is a senior in high school. His parents aren’t demonstrative but they do their best for their kids.
Charlie’s honors English teacher sees potential in him and encourages him to “participate” in life so Charlie steps out of his comfort zone and becomes friends with seniors Sam and Patrick. Sam and Patrick are half-siblings and are much more worldly than Charlie. Still, their group accepts and includes Charlie and he revels in their attention. He learns a lot about them and himself even when he makes some missteps along the way. He learns,
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.
It’s hard to describe The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky since it’s told from the perspective of an adolescent boy. His thoughts ramble even as he tells his story. It’s best to pay attention, though, because some of those ramblings are important. You see, there’s a secret in Charlie’s past that has had a huge impact on him but he’s blocked it out.
Many teens will be able to relate to Charlie even if they can’t relate to his secret. His feelings of social awkwardness and not belonging are almost universal for kids that age. They have so much to figure out, even as they’re on the verge of adulthood.
The movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the plot of the book pretty closely so I pretty much knew what was going to happen as I read it. That didn’t keep me from enjoying this coming of age story, though. I thought the book was very well written – Chbosky captures the voice of a teenage boy perfectly. Because of issues explored, I recommend this book to older teens on up.
I will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.