Succumbing to my daughter’s insistence, I finally started reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from Stephen Chbosky. I first asked her, if it was a teeny reading or a young adult novel and who the author was. She told me that it was a book about coming-of-age, but that it should be interesting for all ages. She assured me that it wasn’t only about high school and parties.
Chbosky is an american screenplay writer and this was his first novel. He also wrote the screenplay and directed the film with the same name:
I must say that I really enjoyed the book and found some interesting thoughts in it. The main character calls himself Charlie and writes letters to an unknown friend telling him about his everyday experiences during his first high school year. He is a lonely boy who has a hard time making acquaintances and prefers to observe and think rather than take part in life. “He’s a wallflower… You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
His favorite subject is English literature and his teacher is one of the adults he starts talking to. His teacher tells him that “Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.” and that he should think less and act more. So Charlie decides to start living and he manages to make two very good friends and other acquaintances. He shares one similar and dramatic experience that occurred during his childhood with his best girlfriend. This bad experience has a very big influence in the ways they interact with their peers and adults. The book shows the value of having good friends and the importance of knowing how to keep them.
Besides friendship, love is one of the other major topics that goes hand in hand with sexuality in those years. One of the interesting quotes regarding love is “Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing”; – “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
It also shows the problems not only young people have to deal with such as drugs, dysfunctional families, dishonesty and cheating among others. Although the topics may sound hard and sometimes cruel, this is the way life is and Charlie has a very charismatic way of telling about the events that affect him. As one of the quotes in the book: “This moment will just be another story someday.” And also“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
The book ends with Charlie finishing his first year of high school having made some good friends and with good intentions of participating in life.
After having spent an excellent Friday evening with my dearest friends and having gotten so many e-mails, SMS’ and posts on FB, I can only agree with the book and the importance of having good friends that may or may not be “forever”.