Charlie writes anonymous letters to somebody he doesn’t actually know. He writes about returning to high school after his best friend killed himself the year before. He writes about the books he reads and the special support he gets from his English teacher. He writes about his Aunt Helen who died. He writes about his sister and her boyfriend. And when he meets Sam and her step-brother Patrick he writes about them, their relationships and how through their friendship he slowly starts living his own life.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this book. I only started reading it because of the movie adaptation – I usually make an effort to read the book beforehand, if it interests me even a little bit. So I was pretty surprised when I got so caught up in this book that I finished it in a few hours. It was beautiful.
It doesn’t happen very often that I can read in a horizontal position without falling asleep within a couple of minutes. I’m like one of those dolls that would automatically close their eyes when you lay them down. That usually has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with me using every possible minute I can to sleep. Anyway, every once in a while, I will be so engrossed in a book that my body forgets its actually lying down. And The Perks of Being a Wallflower was exactly such a book. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it was just plain wonderful.
Chbosky wrote a sensitive and sensible book about many important issues – from growing up and finding your place in life and enjoying it to consent to mental illness to seeing that your needs are being met without hurting the people around you and everything in between. And he does all of that with great characters.
Charlie’s voice is idiosyncratic, a little off, which is absolutely pitch-perfect for the book. And the pacing is great, too – the story draws you in and it just doesn’t let you go.
Summarising: it’s a wonderful, touching and pretty damn amazing read.