The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a book about a teenager in the early 1990’s named Charlie who is about to start high school. He is also struggling with a few things personally: his best friend committed suicide the previous year, and he has also struggled with
his own mental health since the death of his Aunt Helen when he was a kid The story follows Charlie’s first year of high school and the summer after. Through letters to an anonymous friend Charlie shares his first days of high school onward – from being nervous and friendless on the first day, to meeting new friends Sam and Patrick and his first relationship, to having a major breakdown and spending time in the hospital during the summer. He shares a lot of firsts with this anonymous friend, and it is apparently that his new friends have a profound effect on his life regardless of the age difference between them.
I watched the film based on the book first, which prompted me to pick up and read the book. This book affected me more than most of the books I have read. It is a very raw and honest account of Charlie’s first experiences with high school and “growing up” in general. I appreciated that it did not dance around the potentially serious issues like Charlie’s mental health. I personally was able to identify with some of Charlie’s experiences including how he felt during his first days of ninth grade, though I am not sure I would have gotten as much out of this book had I read it back then.
‘Perks’ is written in a unique format, and this was something I appreciated. It helped me to see things better from Charlie’s perspective than if it was written in the third person, for example. It was also a rather simple read and I was able to finish it rather quickly. This was pleasant for me because I seem to be picking up “heavier” reading material lately. I absolutely don’t regret reading this one and I would highly recommend it.