Review Of The Perks Of Being a Wallflower

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An incredibly accurate portrayal of adolescence, Stephen Chbosky’s “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a powerful coming-of-age novel. Told through a sequence of letters to an anonymous “friend,” Chbosky describes the life of a boy, Charlie, entering high school after the death of his best friend. Through his intimate letters, Charlie learns about himself, dealing with love, alienation, depression and mental instability. Intriguing and mysterious from the first letter, Charlie begins his entry by writing about his fear that “[no one] out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have” (2). Charlie’s doubts about growing up are softened when he begins to become friends with two seniors, Patrick, a gay man, and Sam, a dark yet loving girl; both see the beauty in Charlie’s shyness and teach him how to live in the moment instead of hyper focusing on other people’s lives. Charlie also forms a relationship with his AP English teacher, Bill, who assigns him extra reading and tells him to “participate” in life. These two relationships are what help Charlie go through his first year of high school with friends and happiness. Although the novel is written in letters, Chbosky does a wonderful job in showing both sides of this bittersweet tale. Because Charlie is an observer of life, he sees things that people usually don’t and has to keep them as secrets. Although burdens to Charlie, Chbosky writes these “secrets” in a way that enables the reader to understand the meaning of them and understand them as life lessons, even if the meaning doesn’t occur to Charlie. For example, Charlie witnesses his sister getting hit by her boyfriend. Charlie’s sister begs him not to tell anyone about the incident because “he’s [her] whole world” (25), and because Charlie is naïve, he doesn’t tell a soul. While this might not have been the right

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