The Perks of Being a Wallflower

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, has been one of my favorite books since a girl named Lauren recommended it to me in eighth grade.  The book is a collection of letters written by a unique boy named Charlie who is getting ready to start high school.  Charlie is somewhat of a loner, and in his first letter he says that he’s writing because “I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even though they could have” (pg. 3).  As the book progresses, Charlie finds a group of people who accept him, namely a girl named Sam and her stepbrother Patrick.  Charlie’s straightforward descriptions of their year together from his position as a “wallflower” provide crystal clear insights into the complicated (yes, complicated) life of the high school student.

I love that Chbosky organized this novel in a series of letters.  Charlie is such a rich, individual character, and his letters really allow the reader to understand him and accept him just the way he is, as so many others have not.  To me, a “wallflower” is a person who notices everything without really being noticed themselves.  While the book definitely highlights some of the “perks” of being a wallflower, Charlie also learns the benefits of having a solid group of friends and being noticed for exactly who he is.

This book is also soon to be a movie.  I for one am really looking forward to seeing how the story is portrayed onscreen, with a cast including Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Paul Rudd.  Mostly, I just really want everyone to know what a great and important story The Perks of Being a Wallflower really is!

UPDATE: The movie is awesome–everything I had hoped it would be!  The author of the book should always direct the movie!

Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: Pocket, 1999.

Cover design by Stacy Drummond.  Cover photo by Jason Stang.  Image from


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Filed under Bookshelf, Coming of Age, Fiction, Young Adult

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