Charlie has never been what you call normal. He is haunted by the death of his aunt who died in a car crash and the suicide of a friend as he starts high school. We learn all about his life as he sends anonymous letters to a stranger over the course of the year. Charlie is a wallflower, but soon makes friends with a few older students and falls in love with one of them, a girl named Sam. They introduce him to a fast-passed life with drugs and sex and rocky horror. Charlie eventually uncovers the real reason his aunt’s death troubles him as repressed memories of her sexually abusing him resurface.
This book has wonderfully complicated characters that seem very real to me. I felt like I could identify with Charlie and his way of watching life go by. This book seems to deal with a lot of issues real teens have to go through and I think the wisdom gained from it is valuable.
“1999 was a banner year for the publication of books with wonderful male protagonists, boys who defy stereotypes and who are equipped with wonderful voices that they use to talk about their lives, their challenges, and their feelings. just consider this catalog of kids First is my favorite, Charlie, the sensitive protagonist of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a wonderful book that I think will be remembered as The Catcher in the Rye for the 1990s but the Catcher with a heart” (Cart 2000).
This book would be a great book for teens in troubled places in their lives. As a library, we could sponsor and support an existing group for troubled youth. As a part of outreach, we could visit the teens and have a book club meeting over this book.
Cart, M. (2000). What about boys? The Booklist,1 96(9/10), 892. Retrieved May 4, 2012, from Research Library.
Chbosky, S. (1999). The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: MTV Books.