“So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
― Stephen Chbosky, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Content Warning: This book contains talk of sexual abuse, abuse, homophobia, racism, mental illness, rape, alcohol/drug abuse and death.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” revolves around a socially awkward teen named Charlie. Charlie just started high school and as he embarks on this new chapter of his life, he decides to write letters because he believes that us readers “listen and understand.” These letters are what make up the book and are a very creative and unique way for Stephen Chbosky to write. I believe that is why this book is so relatable.
In high school, Charlie meets Sam and her step-brother Patrick who are both carefree and charismatic. Through them, Charlie learns what friendship can be like. Charlie’s background is on the darker side and he is dealing with a lot of emotions including depression. Through these friendships, he finds the good in life including love, music and freedom.
This novel dives into darker themes such as suicide, death, depression, anxiety, grief and sexual abuse. But there are also themes of joy, friendship and hope, as well as finding your first love and feeling infinite.
Charlie goes from being nothing but a wallflower (people-watchers who see and know everything but choose not to participate) to trying to be a part of the world around him.
It is worth buying “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Although I firmly believe books are better than the movie adaptions, I would highly recommend watching the 2012 adaptation of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” You can find it on HBO Max, Prime Video or Apple TV.