The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, is a poignant coming-of-age tale set in a world of grim realism. This haunting novel tells the tale of Charlie and his journey through his freshman year in high school. Written as a series of letters from Charlie to an anonymous recipient, we learn that this guy can be special, humorous, and courageous at the same time. I can assure you that you will sympathize with Charlie as you witness the world that he must go through. As he ventures into the uncharted territories of adulthood, Charlie must face the common dilemmas of growing up. The novel deals with heavy subjects such as drugs, sexuality, and mental illness, but it also adds its own flavour of dark humour to make it easier to digest. The characters are also captured so well that they feel very much like real people. There’s our main character, Charlie, a troubled kid who simply must overcome these constant obstacles. Eventually, you will also meet Sam and Patrick, two step-siblings who introduce Charlie to new things to see and do. Sam is supportive, accepting, and she is simply fun to be with, while Patrick is always ready to crack a joke. The constant trio of Charlie, Sam, and Patrick create a chemistry which feels very authentic.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower also creates a unique dynamic and setting, which help to meld it into something fresh and new. Taking place in the 1990’s, these kids act differently in their world of the past. It’s special to see how their lives vary to modern times. Additionally, Charlie creates an entertaining inner monologue, so that you will be wanting even more once the book ends. His opinions resonate so strongly, that you can’t help but want to be this guy’s friend. The writing style really does make the book. Although you might feel uncomfortable at parts, due to the subject matter, it’s necessary to craft this world and to teach us such important lessons.
I would truly recommend this novel, as it provides such a true view on what it means to grow up. It’s sad and happy and bittersweet, and you will constantly understand what the characters are going through. This is not just some other teen novel. It’s the teen novel that you must read.
Although it deals with controversial subjects, this just helps it become a more important novel in literary history. The author tackles these subjects with such grace that you can’t help but admire what he has been able to communicate through Charlie, to the readers and the rest of the world. I would rate it 9.5 out of 10.