Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Everyone goes through teenage angst… some have a harder time than others. Charlie had a hard time – I had a hard time. And the reasons why were pretty familiar….
Reading this I saw so much of myself in him, starting as a freshman and no knowing who you are. Having lost his closest friend … high school is scary enough, but having to deal with it on your own is pure torture. But being a teenager is all about firsts. First party – first time feeling alive out with friends – first drink – first joint – first hit of….
well you get the idea.
Firsts are for when you’re a teenager – kiss – smoke – real friend – and somewhere down the line you miss them and wish things were as simple as they were when you were 15.
Perks is reminiscent and telling – bold and beautifully tragic. Charlie is lost somewhere between finding himself and dealing with his past. He has a hard time shutting off his brain, and I can completely relate to that. He sees so much anger and hurt in the world – but is desperate for something positive. His reading – his English teacher – driving with Sam and Patrick listening to new rock music. Making mix tapes to impress and illustrate his feelings for his friends. Exploring anything and everything that’s put before him … This story reminds me so much of my adolescences and my friends – and the times we had – the experiences we shared, and how everything seemed so important. I’ve read this book – re-read it almost once a year for the last 10+ years.
“Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.”