The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

So you may have seen the movie already (I did), but this book is still a worthwhile read.  It is the story of Charlie as told by himself through letters to “a friend.”  Charlie is beginning high school with a quirky, honest personality and no friends.  He is befriended by a small group of seniors who are just as quirky and interesting and they make him feel, for the first time, like he belongs.  In the course of the year, he learns a lot about himself and friendship and love and gains insight into his past.

The writing is genuine adolescent and both adolescents and any adult who ever experienced adolescence can appreciate it.  Some of it is raw and sad and all of it carries great emotion.  And some of the writing is so beautifully subtle, especially in it’s revelation about his relationship with his aunt who had died.  The characters are also very real and by the end of the book, they all feel like they are your friends as well.  It reminds us adults that teenagers feel very strongly and think very deeply.

I rarely read a book after I’ve seen the movie (and often vice versa) but this was worthwhile in spite of having seen the movie.  It’s an elegant story told very simply and it works.

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