Hey bookworms! I’ve finally read the masterpiece that is The perks of being a wallflower and oh how glad I am that I did. When I was little I read a lot of cringy high school books, but this one is aimed at an older audience so tackles a wider range of more important subjects that honestly need to be given more attention in schools. But yeah, less ranting about how terrible schools are at dealing with stuff and more ranting about Charlie and this book and how he dealt with stuff.
As Charlie, a wallflower, reserved but attentive, begins his freshman year of high school, he develops an unlikely friendship with a group of seniors who help him navigate the complexities of high school life, introducing him to a world of vibrant culture. However Charlie is numbed by the loss in his past and over time his closest friends – Sam and Patrick – must teach him how to feel again, but most of all how to step away from the sidelines and experience life to the fullest.
Ahhhh this book! Honestly a work of art. Unlike many high schoolish books, this one actually made me think about stuff when I put it down. Crazy, right?? As aforementioned, it discussed loads of teenish topics from social anxiety and suicide to friendship and sexuality all in a relatively smol book, written as letters from Charlie to a stranger so we were right inside Charlie’s brainforest (eek my favourite word), feeling everything he was feeling. Being a wallflower, it was kind of easy for Charlie to be treated like a puppy, which I felt he was quite a lot throughout the book especially as his friends were pretty much all older than him. But being inside Charlie’s head the whole time was so incredibly interesting and insightful because it showed every little thing he saw and thought and felt that the other characters were unaware of. I was so immersed in the story because Charlie was so well-written, and surprisingly relatable despite being a pretty outgoing muffin myself, always wanting to have a say in everything. Charlie constantly had a lot on his mind about love and life and all the deep things, but he’d only really open up about all of it in his letters which created a stronger bond between him and the reader, or at least that’s how I felt.
I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
By the end of the book Charlie really felt like a friend and *sniffs* I’m going to miss him… I loved his lil quirks, especially his repetition of the word ‘incidentally’ (seriously it was in almost every letter, ’twas adorable don’t ask me why) and the phrase ‘and that was enough’ as well, which just showed how much he appreciated everything in his life and aw I just wanted to squish him every time he said it.
Also we must talk about Charlie’s family because aaaak his relationship with them was just the sweetest lil thing. His parents were actually nice? And alive? But not creepily overprotective? But also not neglectful? And he actually got on with his siblings? Like, thank you Stephen Chbosky because this is pretty rare in YA. Sam and Patrick were angels too – hence the title of this post – and I loved how unique and loving each of Charlie’s friends were. Just hugs and cookies all round.
I watched the film about a year before I read the book I think? So I couldn’t really remember the storyline, other than the fact that it made me sob an ocean or two but I didn’t actually cry in the book. I’m thinking my heart may have been shipped to Antarctica and then been mailed back cold and frozen in the space between watching the film and reading the book. Who even knows what adventures my heart has been on, but I sure went on an adventure reading this book even if my heart was a bit icy. A cute, slightly cringy tale of love and all that gobbledygook* that I’d recommend to anyone who has a heart but wants it shredded.
Clover count: ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ (9/10)
*I just looked up where the word ‘gobbledygook’ comes from and well…
What exactly is gobbledygook, and where does the word come from? Texas Congressman Maury Maverick coined the word in 1944 to describe the frustrating jargon used by policymakers in Washington. It reminded him of the sound of turkeys gobbling.