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The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Book Review
By: Carina Carlos, 12
Charlie is a wallflower, always watching life from the sidelines until he befriends two fascinating students who become his mentors. Charlie is a freshmen while Sam and her step-brother Patrick are seniors. Both help Charlie discover the joys of friendship. However, as his newfound friends prepare to leave for college his inner sadness takes over.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a young adult novel by Stephen Chbosky. The main character, Charlie Kelmeckis, through the course of the novel narrates the story by writing a series of letters to an anonymous person. He addresses each of his letters as “Dear friend,” I feel like the author's intention was to make the reader feel as if the letters are directed towards him or her in order to make the reader feel like they have a personal connection towards Charlie and hope that he is okay. Personally this was my favorite thing about the book because most authors make you feel connected to characters, but Chbosky went beyond that. He made me feel connected to Charlie on a much deeper level because I felt like he was confiding in me. And the style of writing makes you feel like you are part of the book.
One of Charlie’s favorite songs is With a Little Help from My Friends by The Beatles. He identifies with this song because he finds himself battling pretty dark moments of depressions and without his friends he would not have made it out. But without them he wouldn’t have had any type of depression in the first place because if he had remained isolated, he wouldn’t have had to endure the challenges that brought about his depression.
At the end of the novel, it is revealed that as a child he was sexually abused by his Aunt Helen. Those memories were repressed out of his love for her and as a result of his empathy for his aunt's own problems when she was a child. By the time his friends have gone to college, he starts feeling really lonely and starts recalling those repressed memories.. He has a mental breakdown. He attempts suicide. He ends up at the hospital. Without the help of his friends that come to visit him it would have being more difficult for him to get out of his depression.
Although, I really enjoyed the book, I wish that Charlie wasn't as passive and would have stood up for himself. In other words, I understand that Sam didn't mean any harm when she was touching him, but he knew he was not liking it and hesitated on stopping her because he felt pressured into doing it. In the end he does stop her, but the lead up was too painful to read about and I was just hoping that at some point he would tell her to stop.