Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: Gallery Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc. 1999. Print.


LIfe as a watcher has its perks, but to really live, Charlie is going to have to get involved.


In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie is a profound thinker with a deep-down wrong done to him by someone he loved greatly, and he struggles through his coming-of-age experience as mostly a passive observer of life, until things push him over the edge, and he must engage, with often explosive and reverberating results. His journey from passive to active participant can't begin until he stops running from this truth and reconciles the past with his present.

Chbosky uses the literary device of having his protagonist, Charlie, tell Perks through letters he writes addressed only to an anonymous "friend", but this is used to further enhance the sense of Charlie's passivity, by distancing the reader, making them another observer in Charlie's world.

Perks may have swearing, sex, homophobia, molestation, abortion, suicide, depression, anxiety, drinking, drugs, etc., which I'm sure garnered it attention from crazed censors who think monkey see monkey do, but it was and still is a highly accurate portrayal of the teen experience. It was also honest, potent, relevant, and profoundly bittersweet, and Charlie's words express what every teen struggles with: being alone, connecting with others, and finding strength to go on in a world that doesn't always have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Genre: Challenged, Censored and Banned Books, Realistic/"Edgy"/Problem Novel, Multicultural (LGBTQ), Coming-of-Age/Search for Identity.

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