I’m not generally one for book reviews. I think that sometimes our choice of what we read can be personal, even intimate. But every now and then a book comes along that you want to share. And I’m not alone. I have just finished reading “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. I have been hearing good things about this for a while. A buzz if you like. Then I saw the trailer for the movie and I really liked the look of it. So I decided to read it before watching the movie. And I’m so glad I did.
Why is it so good? Very briefly, it’s what would typically be called a “coming of age ” story. The protagonist uses the alias “Charlie”, and is an insecure young man of about fifteen. He is unsure of himself, his life, and his place in the scheme of things. He meets Patrick and his sister Sam, they hit it off, and become his best friends. There is the drama and angst of teenage dating, sex, drugs, sexuality, mental health, high school, and family. There are some deep and complex issues in Charlie’s past which he has repressed. His friends become his life raft.
What stood out and what I loved the most is that the characters are all so beautifully written. They are real, honest, beautiful, flawed, and intelligent. The writer touches on the uncertainty of that time when school is ending and you stand on the cusp of the great big unknown: the future. It also reminds us of how crucial our friends are at that time. How we all want to fit in despite how different or “on the outside” we feel.
I want to share some of my favourite lines from the book. They express so beautifully what I loved about it.
“And in that moment I swear we were infinite.”
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
“I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is.”
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
“Then, I turned around and walked to my room and closed my door and put my head under my pillow and let the quiet put things where they are supposed to be.”