The Perks of Being a Wallflower – I have already heard of this title before, but somehow, the title didn’t exactly catch my attention, let alone be aware of its story. I know a lot of people have read this book, but I was not one of them. With the recent release of its film adaptation, it still did not convince me to buy the book. I did plan on watching the movie, though. But then, whenever I entered a book store, I kept seeing its promotional posters. But it was not the pictures that convinced me to buy a copy. It was the passages from the book that were posted that took my interest and so, I got myself a copy.
Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. Of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Now that’s something. As simple as it may sound, the story holds something more. The format of the book is written in the form of letters. Charlie, the main character, writes the letters and he sends it to an unknown addressee, only considering the person as a friend. We do not know who that friend is, but I guess this format helps in engaging the readers more in the story. In turn, the letters demonstrate the experiences of a person undergoing adolescence as well as express Charlie’s thoughts, feelings, fears, and anxieties.
One can easily get into the book as the characters are realistic enough to be relatable – may it be Charlie’s sister, his brother, Sam, Patrick, Bill, etc. – because what they have gone through, any other person could experience. But Charlie has the greatest effect on me.
Charlie is outspoken and has an open mind that allows him to notice things around him and ponder about them. I also admire him since he is not afraid of his peers and just acts his true self, although in a different and special kind of way. He may have suffered emotionally and psychologically, but he shows to overcome them slowly. Quite frankly, I was surprised by the twist of the story that is revealed towards the end of the book. The way he cope with his struggles may not be all favorable to me, but the book still manages to let me get into his mind and understand his actions.
Evidently, Charlie’s a way of thinking is a bit mature for his age and somehow, there are those moments when I can see myself in him especially when he contemplates and reacts to certain situations. Sure enough, Stephen Chbosky is able to craft a story that let readers understand the message behind the title and Charlie shows to be the perfect example. A wallflower symbolizes a person who is merely a spectator of the world rather than a participator. Therefore, readers get a glimpse of the personal lives of other characters as well. On the other hand, I’m glad Charlie becomes a changed person with the help of his family and friends. I guess there are pros and cons of being a wallflower, but too much of something is not good, so I do hope Charlie is doing well now, now that he doesn’t send letters anymore.
Despite it being a short read, this book still has depth in it that makes me reflect and evaluate my life in general. Stephen Chbosky uses simple words to construct his storyline, but the weight of the story affect me in ways I never expected it to. He knows when to use the right words, and when certain sensitive things should slowly unfold without ever revealing everything immediately. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is surely a page-turner and, without a doubt, an amazingly life-changing book. It certainly gives me new insights about experiences that life presents. I just wish I could’ve picked this up sooner.
So, I would like to end this review with an inspiring passage I got from the book:
“…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.”