"It's strange because sometimes I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book" - Charlie, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, by
The above quote sums up exactly how I felt when I first read this book. I don't often read a book more than once, and it is exceptionally rare that I read one more than twice, but for some reason I am always drawn back to this one. I think the reason it's so special to me is because I related deeply to its characters. To be completely honest, in a lot of ways, this book was like therapy for me. I would even go as far as to say that it changed me a little. This book was given to me by my best friend about five years ago, and I have been in love with it ever since. It is without question my favorite book.
Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a classic coming of age story, and in my opinion it is the most truthful that I've ever read, at least in terms of portraying my experience of adolescence. I really felt as though I was catapulted back to my teenage years. It is both gritty and delicate. It portrays human frailty and strength, life's pain and its beauty. Charlie is our wallflower and narrator, through a series of letters, simply addressed dear friend, Charlie navigates us through his first year of high school. Reading this novel is a very intimate experience. You really feel from the get-go that Charlie is talking to you personally.
Throughout the novel Charlie is struggling with two very significant and traumatic incidents from his past. I will not include any spoilers because I would hate to hinder anyone's experience of this story. He is so cut off from his emotions and the world around him that he even struggles to participate in his own life. He finds solace in books and in his love of writing, but craves real connection. Enter the vibrant Sam and Patrick. These two characters are electric and thrust Charlie into their world of Music, sexuality, freedom and experimentation. Together this trio form a bond that will transform each one them forever. I love the presence of music and the Rocky Horror Picture Show in particular in this book. It really sets the tone. These characters and their lives just ooze authenticity.
Ultimately this is a book about life. It is about growing up, finding your voice and learning how to use it. It is about overcoming your past and facing your future. It is a book about love, friendship and acceptance. It is a book about all of us. If I could only recommend one book to you, this would be it.
“We accept the love we think we deserve” - Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky