The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.

I loved this quote. I marked so many quotes throughout this book, but this was the last one that I marked. What an amazing book. It’s books like these that make you wonder what other treasures you have sitting on your TBR shelf that have been there for years just waiting to be read.

This book is about Charlie, who is maybe one of my new favorite characters in literature. He’s a sixteen year old freshman in high school trying to find who he is, while remaining exactly who he is at the same time. The book is told through a series of letters that he writes to someone that we as the reader never know. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the content of these letters. Of Charlie learning to find himself and finding his way in the world.

Charlie comes from a history of what most would consider traumas. Things that stand out in his brain that may not affect everyone else in the same way, but had a huge impact on him. He’s nervous about starting high school. But he quickly makes friends with Sam and Patrick, step-siblings that are incredibly awesome people. Charlie has an instant crush on Sam and finds a really great friend in Patrick. And things just evolve from there.

He enters a world of Friday night Rocky Horror Picture shows, experimenting with drugs and alcohol for the first time, learning about sex, appreciating incredible music throughout the novel, reading amazing books that his English teacher assigns him as extracurricular reading, and learning to love people and learning what that means exactly.

I thought Charlie was such an amazing character. He’s one of the most open minded kids I’ve ever known, and it came off as genuine, not forced. He truly doesn’t care that Patrick is gay, he just knows that he’s an amazing person. Unfortunately, you don’t see that a lot in high school. At least not here in New Orleans. He doesn’t care that Sam has a boyfriend, he just loves her without ever being invasive. He doesn’t judge people and I loved that about him. He’s a smart kid, a brilliant kid. And he’s unique..he’s himself.

This book felt SO nostalgic to me. With the recurrent Smiths references, the laying in bed reading, the weekend parties getting high with friends, the closeness between friends that so often disappears after high school. It truly did bring me back to my high school days. Days that I always though were so horrible but seem so amazing looking back on them now.

Chbosky wrote a modern classic with this book. He really did. I can see this as a book being taught in high schools for years to come. And a little known fact, for all of you Jericho fans (read: Debi), Chbosky was the co-creator and executive producer of the show! Pretty cool. Think I may have to watch that now….


5 Responses

  1. I did not know that!!! Sheesh, like I needed another reason to finally read this book. šŸ˜› Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost pulled this off the shelf, but ended up grabbing something else instead. Love what you said about all the unearthed treasures sitting right on our own shelves–sounds like this is definitely one of them. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote you shared. Love.

  2. Such a good book! I can’t believe it’s 3 years ago since I read it!

  3. I really liked this book when I read it. I have to admit I don’t remember many of the particulars, but I’ll never forget how he says that sometimes he feels “infinite” and how, somehow, I knew just what he meant. =)

  4. I read this earlier in the year and enjoyed it. I have never reviewed it, though. Big surprise…

  5. Wow, I have this book but didn’t know it packed such a punch in its few short pages. I’ll have to pull it down!

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