The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’d heard about this book and thought it sounded interesting. When I received it, I was surprised how small it was…sort of a pocket notebook size.
Throughout most of the book, I couldn’t get past how naive Chbosky made his primary character. I’m not so old that I can’t remember what life was like as a teenager in highschool. Even the most awkward of awkward weren’t as naive as Charlie! This boy is supposed to be 15, but doesn’t know what masturbation is or recognize that his sister and boyfriend are having sex? What planet is he from?
Because of this, the entire story is almost entirely implausible fantasy. I kept thinking he must have a learning disability or some other condition that made him so slow. Thought maybe the name “Charlie” was a nod at “Flowers for Algernon.” Kept waiting for some big discovery to explain why this high school kid sounds like a middle school boy. It never came.
I guess some things never change. Just overheard this conversation at the gas station and it made me grin.
Teen Girl 1: OMG, I can’t believe we almost forgot the coffee. That’s totally what we came in here for.
Teen Girl 2: I know. We completely spaced. That’s what I do when I write. I just totally space out.
TG1: Yeah, but your poetry is sooooo good. It’s very deep and haunting.
TG2: It’s weird, like it just pours out of me. But I can only write when I’m angry or depressed. (laughs) So pretty much all the time.
TG1: Yeah. Life sucks.
I wish I could’ve told them to enjoy it. That these really are some of the best years of their lives. But then I would’ve been that crazy old lady who doesn’t understand them or their daily struggles. And god forbid I be that person.
It amused me because I was the same way for much of my very young life. I wrote like crazy and all my friends thought (or atleast claimed to think) I wrote such deep, profound, moving things. I look back at some of those poems now and feel a little embarrassed, but mostly just laugh. Those big huge earth-shaking dramas of youth. The teen angst. The forbidden love.
I really was a cliche. I embraced depression. I was melancholy. I wore black. I dressed funny. I rebelled. I was goth before goth was cool dammit.
Now, it’s funny to see that I wasn’t nearly as original as I thought. And these 2 girls aren’t either. It’s a rite of passage that we all go through. And I envy them their journey.