Author: Stephen Chbosky
Country: United States (1999)
Challenges: Dangerously Read
Have you ever finished a book only to immediately want to re-read it again and again? That's exactly how I felt after reading the final sentence in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I vaguely remember this being a hit when it was published, although I just purchased my copy before the new year. It was a quick read, with so much depth and character that I feel this will be a treasure I can read again and again always finding something new.
The novel is nothing more than a compilation of letters that the protagonist, Charlie writes. The letters are to an unnamed friend. Charlie reveals his innermost thoughts, baring all emotions unabashedly. He is the wallflower, "You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand." (37) experiencing his sophmore year in high school. He is mentored through remarkable texts that his teacher gives him through out the year (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Stranger, Naked Lunch!), befriends a group of seniors where he falls in love for the first time, has a girlfriend (but not one and the same!), loses friends, and finds out how deep his own secrets lie within.
Perks of Being a Wallflower is filled with all of these wonderful quotes and gems of knowledge: "Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve." (24). that I only wish I had read this during high school. In many ways I saw myself in this struggling, emotional, and idealistic character. His intentions are all warmly spirited, but his inability to fully express what his needs are allows for the drama that brings about growing pains.
I cried. I laughed. I cheered. Perks of Being a Wallflower has immediately jumped up there with my favorites.
[side note: I went seeking out other thinks that Chbosky has written and it doesn't look like I am in much luck. The closest that I gather is he edited a collection of stories. He did, however, write the screen adaptation to Rent, which I adored!]