Perks of Being a Wallflower is the kind of book you want to reread every few years and it’s the kind of book I wish I’d discovered in high school.
An instant classic!
Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
I read this book a few months before the movie came out when it was re-hyped and I am so glad it came into my life.
Charlie, Sam and Patrick are still one of my favourite teams and their polarising life experiences made their group dynamic all the more interesting. Each of these characters have their own confidences and their own vulnerabilities and my favourite parts were always when they were pushing each other to have new adventures. I don’t have any siblings but if I did, I would hope that I adored them as much as Patrick and Sam do each other.
There are a lot of YA tropes throughout this book but Chbosky’s writing didn’t make them feel oversaturated. From first love, secret relationships, sibling drama, hidden family secrets, depression, bullying and more, Perks of Being a Wallflower deals with themes that felt real and relatable in one way or another.
I think by now everyone know that this book is full of fantastic one liners: from the funny, to the sad and the downright inspirational, Chbosky knows how to string a phrase together.
Charlie: :I don’t know if I will have the time to write anymore letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school and you helped me.”
Stories told in letters or diary entries tend to be a bit hit and miss with me but this was put together flawlessly and the letter format is fan-fucking-tastic! I love that the letters are addressed ‘Dear friend’ and it makes for an even better read that it is never revealed who the the letters are written to. Some of the theories floating around online are:
*the letters are written to the reader
*the letters are diary entries Charlie writes to himself
* the letters are written to a friend of his aunts
*the letters are written to his teacher
*someone wrote the letters to Stephen Chbosky and he published them (not sure on this one)
Personally, I’ve always believed that the letters were written to himself but I can definitely find validity in the other theories too. That’s another great thing about this book, everything is open to the reader’s interpretation.
Final note: I really enjoyed the movie too and I thought it was beautifully adapted and cast. If you find that the book is not for you, I would definitely grab some popcorn and pop the movie in.
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