book reviews

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Fantastic book. Fantastic movie.
Fantastic book. Fantastic movie.

Hello, dear readers!

Earlier today, like about two a.m., I finished reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower for my summer YA literature course. I did cheat a bit, because I already saw the movie before finally getting around to the book. But, I can tell you that the film is on par with the novel.

It’s been a long time since I was sad to see a book end. Honestly, I wanted to continue receiving Charlie’s letters. I wanted to hear more about his friends, his family, the books he’s reading, the music he listens to, and most importantly, I longed to see Charlie grow as a person.

What astounded me as a reader was how Charlie’s writing style improved. He stopped writing so many run-on sentences, and began to use a wider vocabulary, even though he would occasionally put certain words in quotation marks. His sense of humor, and his thoughtfulness, was wonderful.

While the vast majority of Charlie’s experiences–like taking LSD–did not hold true for me as a high schooler (or as an adult, I might add), I still felt a deep connection to this 16-year-old boy. He let me, and everyone who reads his letters, into his life. No matter what, Charlie is honest. He’s sensitive. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I’ve been told by people before that I’m sensitive. Charlie cares about his friends, his family, and wonders what the children he sees in the mall will be like as teenagers. I don’t blame him for “thinking too much” because his thoughts are philosophical at times, which is exactly what society needs.

I loved the letter format. Because I am a child of the ’90s, I love learning what it was like to grow up during that time period, especially as a teenager.

Now that I’ve completed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I am eager to re-watch the movie. I remember, from the first time watching it, that “To Santa Claus and Little Sisters” was one of the deleted scenes. I was blown away, because I thought that the poem would be something that was angsty and lacked depth. But, instead, I was listening to one of the most amazing poems I’d heard in a film in a long time. Now that I know the meaning behind it, I really wish that that person had been able to get the help he dearly needed. I am also glad that Charlie’s sister’s abortion was also included in the deleted scenes, because it was an important part of how she handled the situation. In my mind, she did the right thing. She was not ready, at 18, to have a baby, let alone raise a child.

Even though a great deal of the topics discussed in Perks were sad or dark, they are all important. Depression and suicidal thoughts need to be addressed. Sex needs to be addressed, with proper education. (In my mind, I believe that comprehensive sex ed is deeply important.)

This is a special book. I will definitely re-read Perks. I will certainly re-watch the movie.

A highly recommended read, for those going into high school, or out of high school.

For now, remember:

and always will be.

Meghan

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