The Perks of Being a Wallflower consists of numerous letters that the main character, Charlie, is writing to an anonymous stranger whom he addresses as “friend.” The letters detail stories and specific instances and events throughout Charlie’s freshman year of high school, during which he befriends two seniors, Sam and Patrick. The novel tracks Charlie through his trials and triumphs, relationships and social awkwardness, and the harsh realities that many teenagers actually face today. The book is relateable in this sense. The conflict and pressures that Charlie faces could happen to anyone, though his circumstances are slightly unique, as the reader finds out by the novel’s end. There are various references to drugs and sex, internal struggles and topics such as homosexuality. While many might know this book for the famous quote, “And in that moment, we were infinite,” it is so much more than that; however, in short, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a boy trying to fit in and finding where he belongs.
This is one of my favorite books, and I am not someone who labels a book as such easily. The Perks of Being a Wallflower combines so many different elements in such a short span of space, and every time I see the novel lying around on a table or shelf, I marvel at the depth and development such a short story contains. At the same time, however, Chbosky doesn’t leave anything out and, at least for me, answered any and all questions I may have had about the plot and characters. Even with the plot twists and sudden turns that arise throughout the novel, Chbosky follows through with every detail, and his descriptions and insight into Charlie’s mind are incredible.
To me, the ending is the most memorable part, because of the climactic plot twist and all of the story elements coming together. Besides that, however, I love all the details and the dynamics between the characters and friend group. One specific part I love is Charlie’s Christmas present from his friends: a typewriter. The entire book has a sort of old-fashioned feel to it, and this moment really sums up the general mood as well as Charlie’s character. I also really loved how real the characters are. At times they seem confident and content, but at other instances in the story, the reader sees deeper into the characters, into a darker, bitter place; they have a lot of substance.
Review by Anna, grade 11, Tuckahoe Area Library