The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

I really enjoyed this book that has become a teen classic over the last 14 years since its publication. I think it may be "The Catcher in the Rye" of our generation, only with a far more likable main character. Fifteen-year-old Charlie is a precocious, lonely boy with a whole lot of brains and a whole lot of feelings. He befriends (or is befriended by) a group of older teens who come to love Charlie's awkwardness because they see the wonderful intent behind it. Charlie just wants to be a good friend, though sometimes he takes that a bit too far, a potential flaw that his older crush points out. He wants to please everyone so badly that his own needs and desires become background noise. This, and other emotional issues, are explained towards the end of the book in a slowly dawning, yet still shocking revelation. It's an ambitious novel, both in subject and in form (Charlie tells his story in letters to an unnamed "friend"), and Chbosky's ambition pays off in a big way. I can understand why this book has touched a lot of people and continues to be a well-read staple of teen literature.


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