As I was on my usual quest to find yet another book, that will keep my mind of the dullness of reality, I came across ‘The perks of being a wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky. I hardly knew anything about the story behind the quite eye-catching cover except for the motion picture that was soon to be on screen. As a huge potterhead there was no way I was missing a movie with Emma Watson and therefore the reading of the book became inevitable.
The story is about a boy named Charlie, who begins his first high school year completely friendless. He is sweet and charming but his shyness prevents him from socializing easily. That’s when he meets the eccentric Patrick and his beautiful half-sister Sam. Through their friendship Charlie leaves the comfort zone of a silent observer and becomes a participant of his surrounding activities. His coming out of the shell is filled with funny and sad moments and the total confrontation with three of the biggest ‘deals’ in life: sex, dugs and the rocky horror picture show.
Set in the 90s the humble story of Charlie gives a somewhat timeless feeling. Freed from the complications of the new technologies the book somehow becomes more humanly friendly and the reader can more easily focus on the problems in the boy’s everyday life. Also a lot of us have witnessed the era of tapes and radios and are not entirely unfamiliar with the surroundings.
Another thing worth mentioning as an interesting fact is that Charlie does not keep a diary but tells his tale in letters. He addresses them to complete strangers but always regards the recipients as ‘dear friends’. The unconventional choice of the genius Stephen Chbosky gives his book an endearing and very personal touch.
The title of the book is not randomly chosen. To be a wallflower means to be a quiet and yet charming person just like a flower that’s waiting to bloom and show its beauty to the world. It gives you a sense of hope that even the most enclosed people are able to overcome shyness and dive head first into the pool of life.
Moreover Stephen Chbosky presents to his readers an abundance of cultural themes through the characters’ good taste in music and books. Charlie gets the opportunity to read great classics and to exchange various mix tapes which gives another insight of his inner world. Personally I learnt about great bands and authors that otherwise I probably would know nothing about.
To put it all in a nutshell ‘The perks of being a wallflower’ is an outstanding novel that will give you a nostalgic feeling towards the awkward days in high school. And yet those are the moments we cherish and preserve with great compassion. Stephen Chbosky makes an unexpected plot twist just at the end, but don’t try to guess it! The only way to find out is to keep on reading.