By Raewyn Kraybill
Stephen Chbosky’s “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a small book, but it tells so many stories in that confined space. In summary, the book focuses on the introverted teen Charlie as he grows up and finds his place in society. However,the book is so much more. In a little over 200 pages, Chbosky explores themes of social anxiety, mental illness, sexual abuse, and adolescence in a raw and relatable way. Charlie faces many of the same issues students deal with today, and it is an influential book that fosters empathy for one’s peers and compassion for oneself.
The most charming part of this novel is the emotion that Chbosky is able to arouse in the reader. The emotion that such a small book can convey shows how meaningful every word is. Chbosky somehow manages to tackle challenging themes while keeping most of the book relatively light-hearted. It manages to be hopeful while not seeming too cheesy or cliche.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” provides many things people look for in a book: relatability, honesty, wit, and a realistic ending. Not only does this book have complex characters, important themes, and a great message, but Chbosky keeps the reader hooked on the book by using a unique plot and style. Chbosky wrote the novel in the organization of letters written by Charlie addressed to an unnamed recipient. The letters keep the style concise and drive the story forward. If people want to fall back in love with reading, this is the book to read.