The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about Charlie, a shy and intelligent socially awkward teenager who is caught between trying to live his life and trying to run away from it. Learning to navigate his way through the "normal" high school life, this book is thought-provoking, sensitive and at times, hilarious.
I read this book in about a day, which I only do when I really like a book and I'm completely involved in the story line. I wanted to read this book before I watched the film, as I always believe it's best to read first before watching an adaptation. The book does have a huge cult following, which I tried to ignore when reading myself as I wanted to judge it purely on the writing. I've read a lot of quotes from Perks, long before actually reading the book. I've also read a lot of criticism about the characters and story line in general but I couldn't disagree more.
I'd heard that the book was about being alone and the struggles of being a 'wallflower,' this is very much me. I've spent plenty of time alone, both in school and at home, growing comfortable in my own company. The idea of a book about this, aimed at teenagers, interested me and I wished I had read it earlier.
The book is a compilation of letters to an anonymous person from somebody named 'Charlie.' He writes about his family, his friends and most importantly, his thoughts. As I'm reading this in 2013, I can understand that some of the ideas are fairly old-fashioned (as the story was originally written in 1999) and that we have come a long way since then in terms of what teenagers know and how they behave.
The book touches upon a lot of issues that teenagers struggle with and it is a lot more complex that it may seem upon first reading.
I did feel at first as though Charlie could have been slightly autistic, but after researching, I'm still not sure. Some people feel he was and some people don't. I guess the author left it open to interpretation on purpose, for whatever reason.
I would definitely recommend younger teenagers reading this and even though I am just out of my teenage years (I'm 20) I feel I could relate to the story from the memories I have and the feelings I had at that time.
I believe this story is one that has earned it's cult status and should be read by everybody, at least once.