|The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.|
"Charlie is a Freshman and while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory, the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever, standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective, but there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor."
♥ ♥ ♥If someone said to me now 'hey, read this book, it's called The Perks of Being a Wallflower & it's written in the form of diary entries' I'd probably think nah, that's not a book for me. And I would be missing out. Hugely, hugely missing out. This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks now because I haven't been able to find the right combination of words to properly express how utterly wonderful I think this book is but, if I'm honest, I'm not sure I ever will so we'll see how this goes (with no spoilers!)...
It might be because I read it for the first time as a teenager and therefore there are a whole bunch of feelings, memories & sentimentality I attach to it, but I can also read it now and feel that instant connection. I'm not sure. I think it's one of those books that you'll connect with or you won't. The letter format is one element I think will be very love/hate. Usually it's not for me, but this book wouldn't be the same if it were written any other way. Charlie's letters, his way of writing down what's going on in his life, really pull me in, I feel a real connection to him and like I'm a part of his world.
At it's very heart this book is a beautiful coming-of-age story in which Charlie describes things happening in his life, the things he feels & the journey he goes on through a series of letters to an anonymous stranger whom we never meet. Charlie is a beautiful soul, sweet, introspective, intelligent far beyond his fifteen years yet incredibly awkward & naive; he's a wallflower. I really identify with Charlie in this respect; it used to be something I hated intently but once I learned that it's okay to be who you are (something this book really helped me with in my early teens), it's okay to be quiet and some of the things you see when you quietly observe are incredible. And his story, this story, as the author has said, is for anyone that has ever felt like an outcast.
"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."The book is as much about Charlie's friends and family as it is about him and the things he's going through. Even though someone's life may look completely wonderful from the outside, it's probably not all that it appears to be. Through Charlie we learn about those closest to him and how beautifully he understands them, quietly accepts their flaws, sees them for the wonderful good-hearted people they fundamentally are and always wants the best for them. His decisions aren't always the right ones, but he learns from them and always makes things right. I haven't experienced everything that Charlie and his friends go through, there are so many social issues within the pages, but there are a good chunk that I have and they're so relateable, the feelings that they stir up are so raw. I smiled, I cried and my heart was broken & then patched back together shortly after, all within 200 pages.
"I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite."In times where you feel like you don't have anything else, there is always hope. Never stop hoping because even if you don't think so, somebody somewhere thinks you deserve to be happy. When you're going through a dark time, where simply getting out of bed each morning is a struggle, remember that it will get better. Even though to you, in that moment, I know it can be all consuming.
"I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.”If you haven't read it please don't dismiss it because it's popular or because it was first published by MTV or because you can't scroll through tumblr without seeing a quote from the book on every page. Give it a try, it might just surprise you. And if books aren't really your thing, watch the film because it's equally as beautiful, sweet, heartbreaking, heart-warming & so much more all at the same time.
Have you read Perks before?
What did you think of it?