The Perks of Being a WallflowerMonday, October 10, 2011 By Sydney Weinshel
High school is hard on everyone, but no one wants their peers to know that. Everything teens feel is an internal struggle to find themselves. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, is the story of one boy’s inner struggle to find himself under the influences of sex, drugs, alcohol, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The boy, Charlie, is writing letters to an unknown person while dealing with a certain level of depression. It is not known where he is in the world or why he is the way he is. Every letter he writes to this pen pal outlines the new experiences he faces after befriending Sam and Patrick, step siblings and his best friends. Charlie has to come to terms with the death of his friend Michael, the death of his beloved Aunt Helen, surviving his first year of high school, and his unrequited love for the unattainable Sam. Teens often feel like they don’t belong when they are in high school; they feel lost and insignificant in this big world. That is practically the definition of high school. That’s what makes this book so amazing; it doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything. Chbosky tells it like it is in a raw and original way. This isn’t a story about the jocks or the cheerleaders, nor is it about the burnouts or hipsters. It is about you. Charlie embodies all teens. He is the summation of what it is like to be a teenager. The book deals with some controversial topics such as sex, drugs, and sexuality. It delves even deeper into abuse, family issues, and bullying. To read it, one must do so with an open mind. It’s not to be judged, nor was it written to make a statement. It was written to simply exist. It is there so people don’t feel so alone. It is written so people feel acknowledged and like they matter. This is a story for everyone: boys, girls, teens, and adults. Everyone can relate to the displaced feeling of being a teenager, and this book is about finding one’s self and becoming infinite. It will instantly make one realize that what one is feeling is normal and okay, while at the same time making one realize that you are not alone in the world. This book will bring together an entire generation of people with one simple thing: the story of growing up.