27. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

A wallflower is a shy, unpopular person who stands or sits apart from other people at a party.  Charlie is a wallflower.  He’s the most observant, sensitive, and highly intelligent character in this book.  He recounts all the trials and tribulations of family life and being an adolescent through letters which are written to Dear friend (that’s you).  The epistolary format of the book allows the reader to be privy to the most intricate feelings of Charlie and the people he’s the closest too.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower reads smoothly and quickly but the ambiance is melancholic and heavy at times to say the least.  It made me think about the unfavorable things about being an adolescent. You name it it’s all in this book – sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, death, literature…and much more.  It’s unbelievable what teenagers can get up to or is it?

I suggest reading this little, coming of age book before venturing out to see the film adaptation which will be out in September starring Logan Lorman and Emma Watson .  Apparently Stephen Chbosky is the screenwriter and director of the film so hopefully it will retain its emotional and sorrowful air.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower was first published in 1999 by MTV Books.  It became an immediate success among teenagers and sold 700,000 copies by 2007.  Unfortunately, it has been banned in several schools in the US because of the sexual content and drug use.  For that reason, I would suggest the appropriate reading age to be 16 and above, maybe 15 if they a very mature.  It was also listed as one of the ten most challenged books by the American Library Association (promotes libraries and library eduction internationally and is a non-profit organization) in 2006 and 2008.  I don’t think banning is the right way to go about books like this.  Kids will find it and read it.  These books are a great platform for forums, discussion, and debate in schools and at home.  Parents should read what their kids read and talk about these things openly, then there wouldn’t be any need to ban anything. I give this book 4 stars because it is well written and is very well constructed although it made me a little sad.  Now I’m starting to sound like Charlie with that last sentence.  Happy reading…