Happy New Year: Adventure into The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Book Review)

First, let me start of this post by saying Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you all had a great holiday season with your family and friends! Also, let’s hope everyone has a great 2015 as well!

The amount of festivities, food, sales, happiness, love, and family time during the holidays is a joyous thing to look forward to for everyone. During my holiday season, I was able to catch up on some reading and a few other things as well, which is the main idea of this post. For the holiday season, I received a book from someone that I care about very deeply. The book this person gave me is called The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I was ecstatic, considering I have really wanted to read this book for a while. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a epistolary novel written in 1999 by Stephen Chbosky. For clarification, an epistolary novel is a book/novel that is written in the form of documents such as letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, and things of that nature. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was adapted into a movie in 2012, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller, which I have not seen just yet. The book is more of a look into the growing adolescent years that teenagers face in high school.

Charlie is the main character, who is writing letters to an anonymous stranger, but he addresses them as “friend”. Charlie is introverted and just starting high school in Pitsburgh so he is going through the process of trying to make friends and fit in. His friend, Michael, committed suicide before high school began and he is writing the letters to try to establish a sense of comfort by having someone read them and listen to his story. Personally, I can understand the introversion he is facing because when I started high school, I was very afraid of having to transition into the new environment so I did not really make friends until the end of my freshman year. Charlie has an older brother and an older sister as well as his mom and dad living in the household with him, but he goes to see a psychiatrist after the death of his Aunt Helen. The psychiatrist tells him to get involved so he decides to go to a high school football game in which he meets Sam and Patrick, who happen to become his best friends.

Sam and Patrick are high school seniors and siblings. Later in the novel, the readers learn that Patrick is gay with a football jock boyfriend named Brad and Sam has a college boyfriend named Craig. Charlie observes these things as well as the twisted relationships his sister is going through and his brother’s college experience. When becoming friends with Sam and Patrick, Charlie gets into different habits such as smoking, drinking, and hanging out late with his friends. Sam and Patrick introduce him to other people such as Bob, Alice, and Mary Elizabeth so they could hang out at a place called the Big Boy or watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show while acting out scenes. They all have these crazy experiences with each other from doing things such as truth-or-dare games, gift exchanges, and just having one hectic, teenage ride filled with ups and downs. One of Charlie’s teachers, named Bill, gives Charlie advanced books to read during his whole freshman year experience because Charlie likes to read and Bill knows he is gifted so they talk about the books and reflect on them, too. During the course of the Charlie’s freshman year, readers also learn that Charlie likes Sam, but he cares about others more than himself throughout the novel so he ends up dating Mary Elizabeth. His relationship with Mary Elizabeth ends quickly, as well as the relationships Patrick and Sam had at the beginning of the year. The end of the year gets closer, which means all of Charlie’s friends will be leaving for college soon so it becomes more of a development of what he has learned and new things starting to happen between the group of friends.
I refuse to be a huge spoiler for readers who are interested in this novel so I am going to say this: Read the novel just for the sake of it! I would definitely recommend this book to a friend because I found it to be very enlightening and understandable for teenagers and young adults included. It might not be a novel to give to a young kid, but even if you enjoy reading or not, I absolutely recommend this book because it is definitely a literary adventure worth taking!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower