The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Finished 5-13-16, rating 3.25/5, YA, pub. 1999
Unabridged audio read by Noah Galvin. 6.25 hours
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.
This is a book that has been embraced as a modern YA classic and for good reason. Charlie is a naïve, but insightful, high school freshman who is quite a loner after losing his best friend and he took a leap of faith in befriending Sam and Patrick, older and more worldly students. Charlie fits into their circle of friends because he is older and wiser than his years, even if he tends to cry and become flustered easily.
The book is a series of letters written to a virtual stranger over the course of the year. It masterfully touches on many serious problems that kids are dealing with, like suicide, abuse, sex, sexuality, abortion, drugs. I think this book would speak to mature teens and start much needed conversations. I liked Charlie but, maybe because I listened to this in too many sessions too far apart, I was ready for it to be over, hence the average rating. I honestly think that’s just me because, looking back, I really have no complaints.
I’m interested in watching the movie, mainly because I’d like to see Emma Watson as Sam.