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Monday, May 20, 2024

Being a wallflower has perks, apparently

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a coming-of-age story by Stephen Chbosky. It is told through a series of letters written by Charlie to an anonymous person who he addresses as “friend.” The book deals with issues such as rape, abuse, homosexuality and the difficulties in general that come with growing up.

Charlie, the “wallflower” from the book’s title, writes about his experiences throughout his freshman year of high school.  Charlie’s best friend, Michael, committed suicide before their freshman year, and the grief that Charlie feels adds to his nervousness about starting high school because he now has to go through it alone.

In his letters, Charlie describes his relationships with his family members and with the older friends he makes. He talks about his first party, the music he likes, his favorite books given to him by his English teacher and his feelings for his friend, Sam.

The format of this book really allows readers to understand the way that Charlie thinks. As a wallflower, he notices everything around him and he has very introspective thoughts.

The way Charlie describes his experiences makes him relatable, such as when he says, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”  It is an effective description of the euphoria Charlie felt in one moment while he was with his friends.

The end of the book is both sad and uplifting when a tragic secret about Charlie’s deceased Aunt Helen, the only family member he felt close to, comes out. Still, Charlie chooses to move forward and says that he may not have time to write during his sophomore year because he will be busy “participating” in life. He makes the decision to be in charge of his future.

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