The initial reason for Perks of Being a Wallflower being included in my reading list is the hype that surrounded it. Just like most novels that become films, PBW had not experienced a high level of success amongst readers until recently. The book was first published in 1999, and was until recently, just a coming-of-age-novel that had been overlooked because other texts like Harry Potter were just coming around. So PBW got shelved by because we were busy being engulfed in the world of magic – that is, until 2012 when the text was made into a film. And the irony of it all is that Emma Watsons is one of the main stars (more on this when I finally watch the film!)
As far as PBW goes, it is one of the few coming of age books that I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire book is written in the form of letters to a friend, however the identity of the receiver is never disclosed. As the main character, Charlie comes across as a teenager who is desperately trying to fit into school after his best friend Michael commits suicide. He quickly makes friends with Sam and Patrick, who introduce him to a whole new world outside of school life.
Charlie easily fits in, however his sensitive demeanor and confusing outlook towards everything makes him somewhat of an outsider. He is overly observant of what happens around him, and is indifferent to most situations as he chooses to observe rather than act. The story unwinds with Charlies experiencing many of firsts – his first kiss, first love and first girlfriend. His life progresses from having to friends to being a part of a group. And yet he maintains a passive take towards life.
One of my favorite things about PBW was that it had some amazing quotes that are timeless, here are some of my favorite ones:
- “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
- “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
- “I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.”
- “It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”
- “We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough”
I would recommend this book to anyone who misses their school days and wouldn’t mind feeling ‘infinite’ again – because that is what this book reminds you of. It is a one of a kind book, a take on life from the perspective of an observer and a thought-provoker – so if you haven’t read it yet, it’s time you do! Have you read PBW? Share your thoughts below.