The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been my favourite book since I first read it at 14 when I was a painfully shy and questionably dressed teenager. Young Adult fiction has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years with many, including Perks, being adapted for the big screen but unlike the action-packed dystopian series that have obtained widespread success, Perks focuses on the everyday struggles that we face. While Charlie is a teenager, navigating his way through high school, he is someone you can relate to especially if you were socially awkward at that age (I know I was). I don’t think it’s a book you can outgrow but rather one that grows with you.
Here are just some of the reasons you should read it (if you haven’t already):
- Charlie is probably the most endearing narrator ever. He is kind, conscientious, earnest and his faults come from his desire to please people. It’s interesting to see the difference between what he feels and how he acts.
- It has a great playlist. Charlie makes a mixtape for a friend that contains songs from Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths, Moody Blues and The Beatles. I love his annotation for Dusk by Genesis (before Phil Collins was even in the band!). One of the reasons I have a soft spot for Perks is because it introduced me to some great music.
- The Rocky Horror Show- I don’t think I need to elaborate on this.
- It has references great literary classics (The Fountain Head, Naked Lunch and The Great Gatsby)
- The brilliant lines. The prose is simple but also poignant. ‘We accept the love we think we observe’ is one of my favourite lines ever. Charlie sees the world in a unique way which gives him great insight into human nature.
- It is a book that anyone who has ever been shy or felt uncertain of themselves can relate to.
- Its’ about the circle of friends you wish you were cool enough to have- but they all have their own issues and struggles.
- You’ll want to read it again as soon as you’ve finished.