The Perks of Being a Wallflower was given to me on my birthday, as both said present-giver and I were excited about the film adaptation with Emma Watson. The book was published in 1999 by MTV Books but became famous because of its movie adaptation that came out in 2012. Stephen Chbosky, the author of the book, also wrote the screenplay for the eponymous film.
But after much anticipation, for me, the book started out a disappointment. I’m not too fond of the epistolary style in novels and this is the story’s format. Charlie, the main character, starts writing letters to an anonymous friend just before starting high school, as a way to cope with all he’s going through.
Charlie seemed like the kind of character I would never have a connection with. He’s very complex – socially awkward, gets angry often but is incredibly sweet; he passes out when he starts thinking a lot about stuff, and you have no clue why he is like this. It seems a prerequisite that to care about what happens to character, you have to care about them. In Charlie’s case, I wasn’t that bothered at first.
But after getting past the first chunk of the book, I entered Charlie’s life as if it were my own. Charlie ‘sees’ things that make so much sense when you think about them. When I finished the book, I had about fifty quotes that really meant something to me. Quotes that expressed just what I felt so many times that I couldn’t articulate.
Apart from Charlie, who’s a pretty extraordinary guy, most of the other characters are as quirky as him, but with far less (serious) issues. You’ll end up wishing they were your friends by the end of the book.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower helped me understand a lot about life and people in general, even if I’m long past the puberty phase. It’s classified as a young adult book, but university may well be the best time to read it. Your teenage years are still relatively fresh in your mind and Charlie will help you figure out some of those situations you went through or maybe even those that may still be happening.
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