Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is oddly shaped and a slender 213 pages. It fit so nicely in my hand I couldn’t think of returning it to the shelf. I know this makes me superficial, but the back promised it was “unique, hilarious and devastating” in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace. How could I not read it?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is written as a series of letters by a fifteen year-old boy named Charlie. They’re conversational, intimate letters, though the person receiving them doesn’t know Charlie. He begins each letter “Dear friend” and closes with “Love always.” It would be easy to dismiss his style as simplistic, but he’s so earnest and honest I found his voice endearing. His writing isn’t forced, but it may take a few pages before you get into the flow of it. The plot meanders as Charlie narrates his freshman year of high school, but it gets credit for not building up to an overhyped prom and prom-related activities for its conclusion. read more