the perks of being a wallflower

November 3, 2012

Dear friend,
I finished the book my friend gave me to read because I felt curious about it. It is called the perks of being  a wallflower, and no, I did not make a mistake with capitalizing each word. That is how it is titled on the cover. I did not know what I expected as I went into it, but I did not expect such an overwhelming amount of drugs, smoked cigarettes, profanities, and obscenities.
Charlie, the main character in his own story, is writing letters to a “friend” whom he does not know at all. Charlie isn’t his real name, at all, and all other characters are associated with fake names, as well. Charlie, if I continue to call him so, did this so no one would figure out who he really was, and who his friends and family really were. He cries. A lot. I did not like that, because no fifteen year old boy cries that much, and for the stupidest reasons. I thought the character of Charlie was utterly unrealistic in many aspects.
Charlie has just entered high school, and surprisingly he has no friends. At all. Not even one. However, soon he befriends two seniors, and enters their group of (senior) friends. I did find this unrealistic, as well, because if Charlie could not make friends with people of his own age, how could he make friends with older people?! Anyway. Charlie’s friends introduce him to many things that are new to him (although some of them shouldn’t be), including cigarettes, drugs, and drinking parties. They are a bad influence, and a good influence on him. Sam and Patrick, those are the boy’s names for them, teach him to enjoy life, be true to himself, and other coming-of-age-novel-stuff.
If I had to state my iron opinion about the book in one sentence, I would say: I did not like it that much. Why? It is not my style of novel, I prefer literary fiction to simple YA crap. Sorry, I should not have said that.  But now I know for certain that I do not like young adult fiction (too much drugs, and alcohol, and sex — which is also unrealistic, because not every single teenager tries these things, and why write about the “average” teenager?). However, this book had some great moments. Like when Charlie, Sam, and Patrick felt infinite (but please do stop overusing that quote). Like when Charlie entered the fight in the cafeteria because his friend was getting hurt. Like when he thought about people in old photographs, and wondered if they were ever as happy as he was now, or they simply looked so. Like the epilogue. Like this: “I think if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad.”  I thought that bit was very true. Like this one, also: “But mostly, I was crying because I was suddenly very aware of the fact that it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.”
This book was good and bad at the same time. And I guess that is okay.

Love always,
not Charlie


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