Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Read from July 12 to 14, 2011
If I had known the massive amount of awesome I was missing out on by not having read this book, I would have picked it up a long time ago. I'm sad to say that the main reason I read this is because I heard Emma Watson was going to be in the movie. Then, my friend Alli said she had read it, that I should as well. So I picked up a copy from the local library, and started in.
Now, having read this book, I again am astonished at the types of books that are "challenged". I'm not going to go off on a tangent about that, but this book is fantastic, and I hate that anyone would try to keep others from reading this work.
This wasn't a book that had me hooked from page one, but it was one that was good enough to keep me wanting to read it. Charlie's letters were interesting, written to an anonymous friend that we never find out their identity. The letters were written the way a teenager, just a normal teenager, would write in order to express all the jumble of feelings and emotions, just to get it all out, down on paper. Charlie is troubled, but he is a good guy, and that is refreshing. We don't really see Charlie do anything out of spite or malice, regardless of his own inner demons. Everything he does for someone else he believes is for the good of the other person. He is thoughtful and deep, and I really, really liked that.
So many of the books based on teenagers merely scratch the surface of the characters' personalities and emotions, but we get to know Charlie pretty well. The book represents Charlie in a very raw and honest way. He doesn't paint himself to be some awesome guy; even as he describes his actions, he doesn't puff himself up to make himself sound unique. He does what he does, because he thinks it is right, and assumes everyone else would be the same way, always trying to do the right thing. He learns, as he goes through his school year, this is not the case. Many other people are selfish and don't care to think about others.
There isn't some big revelation at the end of this book, and I don't really think there is a lesson to be learned. But emerging from this series of letters is a very subtle idea that even when you're screwed up, everything can still be ok.
quotes from the book:
"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
"I would die for you. But I won't live for you."
"I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have."