I watched the movie when it was released and in the end, I found out it was based on a book. When this happens, I only read the book when I forget about the movie, completely. The only thing I remember was Emma Watson did Sam.
The perks of being a wallflower is a book of letters. And we don’t know who the “Dear friend” is, so I assumed that I was the friend, and I was receiving Charlie’s letters without an address to return.
Charlie wants to be a writer and decided to vent in letter form to someone he thinks would listen. We learn right on the beginning that he spent his childhood in the hospital, that one of his friends committed suicide and he is a strange kid.
I know the world is finally changing, but we are not used to boys crying. Charlie cries a lot, his father had to hide to cry because he couldn’t show his feelings in front of his family. My dad used to cry a lot and never hid, but still, I am not used to teenager boys crying. So, every time he said he cried, I felt an urge to hug him, and all I could think was “what is wrong with you?”.
But don’t read this in a bad tone, I wasn’t judging, I just wanted to know. Something probably happened.
You are reading a teenager boy’s mind, growing up. And he is honest. He is telling you everything, from masturbating to getting drugs and falling in love and trying to be a good friend.
There are so many bad and complex decisions.
There is a moment, in the beginning, he promised not telling his parents about something that happened to his sister, but he told his English teacher, Bill, and he told Charlie’s parents about it. At the end of the letter, his father says
“Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse”
His family is ok, they fight, they cheer for each other. His parents have boundaries of what’s right and they go with it. And we see Charlie and his sister going in the opposite direction.
“Don’t ever say that about anyone again. Not even about me.” That was my mom
Charlie is smart and can read really fast, he has a good relationship with his English teacher, Bill, who gives him books to read and asks him to write essays.
His favorite book is always the last he read. And I like this concept.
Here is the list of all the books Bill asked Charlie to read
The side of paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
A separate peace – John Knowles
Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
On the road – Jack Kerouac
Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs
Walden – Shakespeare
Hamlet – Shakespeare
The Stranger – Albert Camus
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
And the book begins to be the adventures of Patrick and Sam. I know it’s not fair, Charlie begins to live his friends’ lives and his letters are all about them.
I can see myself on this letters on so many levels as every lonely teenager has the same thoughts. On how you see your friends and wants to be with them all the time because your life is boring and nothing really happens. But I also can’t see me at all. Funny how some people are bolder than others, I never consider using drugs because I didn’t want to lose control of myself. For many years, I consider myself a weak person because of this, now I thank my past self for that.
While I was reading, I was thinking about the parents. And it’s probably because I am old or in an age to be a parent, but I was thinking on how little parents know about their kids because Charlie was smoking and doing drugs, having anxiety attacks, and their daughter was on a secret relationship. They didn’t know. Charlie was honest to a lot of people, except to his parents. He knew a lot of secrets.
What’s wrong with Charlie [SPOILER]
So, yes, there was something that happened in his childhood that he forgot and he said it so fast, as he didn’t want you to know, you have to come back a few pages and read it again.
So you are reading the mind of a boy who was abused, who suffered without knowing why, but he was growing out of it, healing every day.
I found this book a little weird, the movie was whimsical but the book was very depressing, unsettling. I cried sometimes, I felt bad for everyone in the book, they were very human.
Everything everyone does has consequences on other people’s lives, so think before you act or say something.
Yes, I recommend this book. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for over 2 years, so many people can’t be wrong.