The Harbinger Online

The Book a Week Project: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Note: I have been reading a book a week for the past couple of weeks, just not ones that I would want to write a blog about. They’re all about imperialism from 1450-1800, which I find fascinating but really would not make for good blog posts. Here’s me trying to be fun!

This summer, I read Catcher in the Rye, since it wasn’t assigned to me for junior English (#IBproblems). I started it on the plane to France and I finished it at three in the morning in a hotel in Lyon. I did not fall asleep until four that night because I cried and cried thinking about my future and all the uncertainty because I have a whole life ahead of me and all that jazz. I’m casual about it now, but at the time, I was freaking out. It is one of those books that every teenager seems to relate to. I really do think everyone should read it. But I also think that every teenager needs to read Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

My girl Thais Reis-Henrie told me in math a couple weeks ago that I needed to read this book, tttand boy am I glad I did. I wish I had read it earlier! Catcher in the Rye is the perfect book for juniors and seniors because it talks about that transition period of thinking about the future and leaving things behind; The Perks of Being a Wallflower is great at any age, because it talks about what happens after you leave those things behind, which can sometimes be the bigger challenge.

It follows the story of Charlie, a freshman in high school who is pretty shy and weird. At first, I almost thought he was autistic because he reminded me so much of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but I figured out after a while that it was just the narration style. It basically just goes through his freshman year and the challenges that go along with navigating high school, having a normal, crazy family and growing up. He’s a middle-class kid with no friends, until he meets step-siblings Patrick and Sam, and they welcome him into their circle. He accidentally gets stoned, he has a period where he’s obsessed with a Smiths song and he falls in love.

Some crazier things happen that I personally can’t relate to (and I don’t want to give away some of the key plotlines!), but for the most part it’s a novel that anyone can appreciate. We all get obsessed with a song (Beyonce’s Love on Top, anyone?); we all have that crush that kills us. Even though it may not seem like it, I think everyone has a hard time making and keeping friends in high school. I know I have. It’s great to read now because I feel like I have some insight on those things that I experienced as a freshman. It’s also kind of scary because I know that I’ll be facing similar circumstances next year, when I’m a freshman again. While Charlie has some problems that make for a good story and not just a recounting of a typical teenager’s life, the nuances of adolescence are still present and make this novel a timeless coming of age story.

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