Genre: Young Adult/Realistic Fiction
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is told through letters written by the protagonist Charlie. He’s an awkward teenager that writes to a “dear friend.” It’s unclear who the “dear friend” is because his/her identity is never revealed. These letters to this friend reveal Charlie’s experiences in high school from making new friends to discovering himself as a person.
Charlie is a quiet student that doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. He has dealt with a lot of trauma in his life, and he keeps his distance from people until he meets Patrick and Sam at a football game. They introduce him to their group of friends, and throughout the story, Charlie grows as a person and becomes more comfortable with this group. Mostly, he is happy that he is accepted and fits in. At the end, the truth is revealed about Charlie’s childhood and what he went through when he was younger.
Once the reader finds out about Charlie’s past, the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. It explains his awkward behavior and shows that he suffered a lot as a child. Charlie is conflicted with his feelings, and this story focuses on how he is dealing with what happened to him. He goes through life wanting to be accepted by others and wanting to be recognized as a person. This can make Charlie relatable because most people his age want to have friends or at least someone who acknowledges their existence.
The way the story is told is interesting. As Charlie is writing these letters to his friend, the reader gets to find out more about his life and the challenges he has been facing. The novel felt more personal with the letters, and it’s as if the reader is the “dear friend” that Charlie is writing to. There is more of a connection to Charlie than there would be if the story was told from a different point of view.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great coming of age story, and I believe it can help readers not judge others before knowing them. It’s hard to know what a person has been through, which is why we should treat others with respect no matter how strange or awkward they may act. Everyone is fighting their own battles, and it’s important to remember that when it would be easy to pass judgment.
My Rating: ★★★★