My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Perks of Being a Wallflowers is a classic coming of age story written in the form of a series of letters by a sixteen year old introvert to an anonymous person. The letters are a diary of the protagonist through a high school year from 1991-92. This was the same time period I was in high school and brought back memories of mixed tapes, lack of internet and the days before mobile phones, where simply the challenge of being a teenager was the biggest thing one had to go through, along with school work for exams.
Charlie the introvert has to learn to make friends and participate in life or his life will simply pass him by while he’s being a self-absorbed observer. His first attempts are socially awkward and he often says strange or cringe-worthy things. However, all his focus on reflection makes him a person of deep thought and great observation. He really listens, sees and understands people and knows what to say to make them feel better or when he is choosing a present he knows exactly the gift that the recipient will love.
Charlie falls in love, but it’s unreciprocated. Is it because Charlie is so good at mirroring others that his own personality and true self hasn’t learnt to come out?
There are some great sentences in this book, along with its famous quote, “people accept the love they think they deserve”, referring to why some people choose to form and stay in bad relationships.
I also like the following phrases:
– “It’s bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that the way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is.” This is referring to the common problem where people only see what they want to in another person, rather than the actual person
– “People who try to control situations all the time are afraid that if they don’t, nothing will work out the way they want.” Referring to not accepting others or that different ways can also work equally well or better. That accepting being wrong sometimes is healthy, mature and a sign of an evolved person and not a person of low self-esteem and paranoia
– “I don’t want to be somebody’s crush….I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me so I can feel it too. And I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am.” This one is referring to people crippled by fear, who never speak to a crush or get to know her. It’s about being honest with oneself and others. Being brave enough to be true to yourself.
A great book which is also a quick read. I highly recommend it.