Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Book
Length: 213 pages
“Dear friend” the book begins, as Charlie writes down his fears and feelings about starting freshman year of high school. These letters take us all the way through Charlie’s year as he embraces his wallflower status but also learns how to participate in life, with new friends, first dates, and family drama.
This is one of those “how has this book not been in my life before this moment??” kind of books that so perfectly sums up the feelings of growing up. It’s epic and thoughtful and nostalgic and touching and oh so wonderful. Originally published in 1999 (with its events taking place in 1991 and 1992), its references to mixed tapes and home phones don’t seem outdated, but instead add to the nostalgic feeling from your childhood that you’re (as Charlie puts it) INFINITE as a teen. It’s just you, your friends, and endless possibilities.
This book is perfect for anyone who has felt alone, only to find friends that make them feel alive. Unlike most the YA of our day that focuses on personal self-discovery, Charlie’s self-discovery is communal. Yes, he finds himself, but only though the encouragement of his friends, family, and a very special English teacher. It’s easy to connect to Charlie as a character because he is so open and honest about his emotions through his letters.
I really can’t gush about this book enough, but I must stop and warn you that there are definite PG-13 moments, including drugs, sex, and alcohol. But accepting those things with maturity is part of growing up.
Now I’m terribly excited for the movie (directed by the author himself). It comes out in selected cities TODAY!! Here is the trailer: