Author: Stephen Chbosky
Summary: 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.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.
But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
After hearing so many wonderful things about this book, I decided it was time to read it myself. I was also planning to see the film adaptation and I hate watching movies based on books without reading the book first (hello! The books are always better!). This book sat on my shelf for quite some time before I finally opened it and began reading. At first, Charlies voice annoyed me. I couldn't stand the way he wrote his letters and the fact that I didn't have a clue who he was writing to was bothersome as well (which we were never told even at the end of the book). I was having a hard time understanding why everyone loved this book so much. But I persevered. I stuck with it until the end and I'm glad that I did.
Even though I'm not much of a fan of Charlie, his relationship with his friends Patrick and Sam was heartwarming and I enjoyed reading about their wild adventures and his love for Sam even though she was four years older than him. Throughout the book we see Charlie struggling with depression and trying to figure out who he was and why he did the things he did. He was a very emotional person and cried all the time. We learn about the death of his aunt Helen and how close he was to her and that he misses her terribly. She was the only person he could really talk to or be himself around. It's easy to see why we feel compassionate towards this character, even though at times I wanted to hit him for being at a lot of times very apathetic. He seemed to go with the flow, not caring where he went or making his own decisions. He let other people make them for him, and Sam points that out to him at one point in the book. She tells him he needs to act, to do something, and stop doing what everyone else expects of him or wants him to do but to do what he wants to do.
It isn't until the very end of the book that a discovery is made and we see why Charlie is the way he is. I'll admit that the ending shocked me and completely broke my heart. I couldn't believe it actually. It took me a minute to gather my thoughts after that one. It was like a blow to the stomach, knocking the breath out of me. All of my negative thoughts about Charlie seemed to vanish within that one letter. This book really resonates with you and leaves a lasting impression long after you've read the last page.
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