Charlie, is a freshman in high school who prefers to 'observe' than 'participate' in everything . He is shy , quiet , sensitive , and reserved . Charlie feels lonesome in new school without Michael, whom he lost during last vacation. He spends time reading books , listening to 'mix tapes' and with family. The memories of his late aunt haunt him sometimes. But everything changes when Charlie befriends his seniors Patrick and his step-sister Sam. They encourage Charlie to attend parties and introduce to many other friends. Charlie starts to enjoy being one among them and slowly his life becomes a roller coaster ride.
The book 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' is written in the form of letters, Charlie's letters to an unknown person. I love epistolary novels since it gives a 'direct-communication' feeling with the characters in it and that's why I decided to read this book. This is a 'coming-of-age' story which promises to help you cherish your wild and lively teenage days.
The main character, Charlie lives in his thoughts. He is a Wallflower, observing , analyzing and trying to understand each person he meets. He does not want to hurt anyone which ends him up with concealing his actual emotions and feelings and pretending to be someone whom, others may like/accept. Though Charlie constantly tries to be normal and to enjoy his life like the rest, something holds him back always from who he really is. At a point, I felt 'overthinking' made Charlie miserable. I did think a lot of 'what-if's and got worried unnecessarily, throughout my school life. Later, I realized that situations turned much better than expected , when I was just myself. Credit goes to my family , who helped to muster up the courage I needed. How silly my reasons were if I compare them with Charlie's life. First love, Friends, Parties, Bullies, fights, Suicide, Divorce, Smoking, Alcohol-use, Drugs, Rape, Molestation, homosexual, Pregnancy , Abortion, so on. Stephen Chbosky made the life worse for the protagonist in his book. I felt sympathy towards Charlie . On the other hand, the ending gladdens you, as you read how Charlie decided to overcome his situations.
"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them."
How meaningful those words are!. Only those who have strong and positive attitude can realize that. He understands that thinking about what happened in the past is not the real point , but how to live the life he has at present is important. Charlie learns to let things go and starts to accept the love he deserves. He understands how great it is to have friends and a family. He remembers Bill telling him he is special and talented, Patrick calling him "friend " and Sam reminding "Be who you are". And he actually starts to 'participate' in life.
This book gives a message to parents as well as teenagers. If you are a troubled teenager, this story will inspire you to let things go ,to feel okay about the past and reminds that you can still choose your life. If you are a parent, the story warns you to be watchful. Charlie's parents did not know what was happening when it was . If they knew, Charlie could have had another cheerful life.