Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

This book has found itself on the Banned List of books (in the USA) for its sexual content, language, drug use and some incredibly hard hitting themes. I think its fantastic and hopefully the fact that it has been banned, and made into a film starring hot young things Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, will encourage the teens at my library to actually pick up a book.

I WISH I had had this book when I was a teenager, even at nineteen it would have been such a fantastic piece of literature for me to absorb myself in. At 25 I actually do not identify any less than I think I would have ten years ago, but I am a more confident person in myself and accepting of my quirks which has taken about 13 years to get to, this book might have helped speed the process.

This is an epistolary novel, i.e. one that is written in the form of letters. These are only from Charlie, our protagonist, who is writing to an anonymous person that he calls ‘friend’ and is using almost as a diary. But as Charlie says having a person to write to gives the letter purpose and gives him a reason to write.

Charlie is 15 going on 16, I would say is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, and is trying to become more involved with life. He is a talented but unassuming young man whose blossoming friendships and loves are explored through his letters. We get to know his family and friends through his eyes, and also learn a lot about being an American teenager in the early nineties.

I simply loved Charlie, his painful honesty in what he writes and does made me uncomfortable and exhilarated at the same time. It is incredibly ideal the situation he finds himself, a group of people who absolutely love him, and a pair of siblings who take him under their wing in their final year of High School. I’d like to think that there are people out there who would do that, maybe my school was just particularly crappy that the older students would have absolutely nothing to do with students who were three years younger.

Chbosky’s writing was clear and absolutely captured the voice of a confused teenager, I was engrossed in what was happening to Charlie and his family and often could not put the book down (until one particular part where I had to put it down for about two days because it was too painful!).

I definitely recommend this book, I reviewed the film over on my other blog and Chbosky continues to impress as screen writer and director. Its a must read/must see in my own most humble opinion.

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