What a delightful literary refreshment! Although it is a quick, easy read of 200+ pages, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is filled with metaphors of life, the fragility of idealism that do not withstand our harsh realities, and philosophies of how differently women and men think. I have to admit, I frowned when I realized (only after my purchase on Kindle) that it is an epistolary novel – compilation of documents, diaries, journals, letters, etc. – but because it isn’t a compilation of letters exchanged between characters, I soon found myself delved deeply into its plot.
Charlie, the protagonist, begins his diary/this novel as a way of dissolving fear of entering high school as a freshman – “So this is my life. And I want you to know that I’m both happy and sad and I’m trying to figure out how that could be”. Throughout his entries, we experience the essence of an adolescent’s intricate and complicated mind including sexuality and drugs. Charlie also talks about homosexuality, abuse, falling in love, falling out of love, and friendships. It’s very Catcher in the Rye- esque. It’s not a duplicate, trust me, and it’s definitely a worthwhile read if you ever read and loved Salinger’s book. The writing style of Perks is very unique and different… And it was at the end of the book when I was reminded that although we have all gone through the same awkward and rebellious adolescent years, our experiences must’ve been extremely different: Chbosky’s novel proves exactly that.
Reading the book as an adult (or so I would like to believe), I was still able to relate to the thoughts of Charlie and the reasons behind why he thought the way he did or why he made certain decisions over others. For some adults my age, this book may come across as a corny line, but in retrospect… it is the thoughts and actions of the younger generation that teach us and constantly remind us that life can be both simpler and more meaningful at the same time. “Maybe it’s good to put things into perspective. Sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there.”
dee’s recommendation: 4/5