I don’t really know how I got my hands on this book… I think it was my sister who told me, after reading it, that I was going to love it and, as she is usually right about these things, I decided to take her advice and started reading it. I’ve never regretted it.
“The Perks of being a Wallflower” is a book written by Stephen Chbosky and published for the first time in February 1999. We could say that this book follows the style created by “The catcher in the rye” written by J. D. Salinger, though it has huge differences in the way the story is told and even in the plot itself. You may think that these books don’t seem so similar, but I can tell you that, in fact, they deal with the same or almost the same topics. On one hand, in both books the main character is the one who narrates his own story. On the other hand, these main characters are both troubled teenagers who have suffered some kind of lost that is defining in some way the way they are living their lives.
As you may know, these kind of books are called “coming-of-age” books. They are books in which the main character is usually a teenager who has had some significant problem in his or her life and who becomes an adult (or at least grows up a little) by the end of the book.
In “The perks of being a wallflower” is Charlie who tells his own story through a set of letters that he sends to an unknow person. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Charlie doen’t know this person himself because Charlie himself tells this misterious guy in his first letter that he decided to write to this person because he’s heard that this guy is a good guy and that he knows how to listen:
“August 25, 1991
I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me. I didn’t enclose a return address for the same reason. I mean nothing bad by this. Honest.
I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist.
I think you of all people would understand that because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means. At least I hope you do because other people look to you for strength and friendship and it’s that simple. At least that’s what I’ve heard.”
This story, his story, begins his first day of high school. High school is usually a difficult time for teenagers. It is the moment when everyone starts finding themselves and looking for a place to belong. These are some of the things that Charlie will also experience through this year, a year which will make learn what it means to be alive and what it means to participate in that life.
Finally, I’d like to tell you about the 2013 film with the same name where Logan Lerman (as Charlie), Emma Watson (as Sam) y Ezra Miller (as Patrick) have participated. Although the book is always better, I really liked this movie.
P.D. I forgot to tell you that it is my favourite book ;-). I know there are millions of things that I’m not saying about this book (like the friendship between Charlie, Patrick and Sam or the huge amount of references to great music bands or literature) but I hope that just this little piece of Charlie’s world will be enough to make you give him and this book a chance.