Book Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Book Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Julianne Rosa, Features Editor

“And in this moment, I swear we are infinite,” states Stephen Chbosky in his novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This novel depicts the coping of adolescence,  the beginning of lifelong relationships, and accepting the unforgettable past. “We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.”

After his friend Michael committed suicide, Charlie began to write letters to an anonymous receiver which helped him cope. Charlie had dealt with depression due to the sudden remembrance of his haunting past that his aunt had caused him. Trust and love is the most someone can give you in a relationship and once it’s gone, it’s gone. When it deals with a family remember, it’s more to take in and accept. You can only embrace the faith and believe in the best that is yet to come.

This novel is written from a first person perspective of Charlie. Instead of chapters, the story is told through Charlie’s letters and is always signed, with love. Someone is always willing to listen to you, to which Charlie can attest. These letters are are based on true events of his life which make them truthful and so unique.

His experiences portray themes that indubitably relate to most teenagers. This story is connectable to teenagers who feel like outcasts and it gives a sense of actuality of what teenagers go through every day. For example, the people who aren’t really sure of who they are, who they want to be and who longs for acceptance. Pertaining to depression and coping, drugs can substitute as guidance for someone. Drugs can also reflect someone’s negative mentality.

When two siblings befriend a newbie in school, they soon create a concrete relationship. Throughout the novel, Charlie’s ability to approach others willingly increases. He sees a boy in his shop class who seems genuinely caring and more so inclined to befriend a freshman like Charlie. Subsequent to meeting Patrick at the football game where he approaches him, he meets Sam.

The title is based on wallflowers that Charlie is viewed as and its “perks”.  Throughout the novel, Charlie is perceived as a wallflower because of his shy, harmless, and quiet personality. Also, because of his demeanor as an observer, he is usually the one on the sideline of the social activity that goes on, but not for long.

Chbosky succeeds in adding a variety of complex relationships. For example, Sam and Patrick to Charlie, Charlie to world, and Charlie to himself. Also, Friendship is emphasized in this novel because everyone whom Charlie meets is influential.

For first love, Charlie’s new friend Sam, shows genuine affection toward him which allows readers to understand the concept of acceptance and love.

In life, you will make a few friends that last a lifetime and do many memorable things with them that will then turn into special moments. Towards the end, Charlie eased up on the letters because he was so distracted by his friends and infatuated by the happiness they brought him. Even if you may be a wallflower, no one but the right people will notice you. They could maybe, just maybe, be your “Hero”. As you drive through the Squirrel Hill Tunnels in Pittsburgh, take a moment to remember the support and love you can easily provide a person with to make them feel whole for once.