The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Not part of a series
High school / mature
K. G. Mitchell, 12th grade
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is quite honestly a coming-of-age masterpiece. Perks is beautifully narrated by the main character, 15-year-old Charlie, as he tells the reader about various life experiences, in a series of letters to an anonymous stranger. Charlie is an outcast. He gets bullied and prefers to walk home rather than taking the bus. Isn't this a familiar plot? Yes, it has been done before, but read the story and you’ll easily discover that Perks has a bigger purpose and deeper plot. Charlie himself is a mystery. He has mental problems, sees things that reminds him of his past, and often passes out. Through his letters to this anonymous person, we learn what it’s like to deal with these setbacks as well as discovering how Charlie survives high school in the 1990s. Eventually Charlie meets Sam and her step-brother Patrick. Together the three of them help each other deal with personal secrets and tough relationships.
Stephen Chbosky has graced teenagers everywhere with what I consider a blueprint to being a teen in 2013. This may sound odd because the book is set in the 1990s, but I would go as far as saying that Perks was simply ahead of its time. As a writer myself, I deeply admire the writing style Chbosky uses to make all of the characters real and relatable. There is a strong level of liableness that lies in its mature content referring to sexual activity, sexuality, and the occasional use of alcohol. I would not, therefore, recommend this book for middle school and below. If you decide to indulge yourself with this fantastic book, you will not be disappointed. The Perks of Being a Wallflower offers three things that are often found in most books but bluntly ignored: acknowledging the negativity in your life, accepting the negativity in your life, and working hard to reinvent that negativity and turn it into a silver lining.
Editors' note: We agree, and we liked the movie too!