Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Author: Stephen Chbosky.
Genre: Fiction, bildungsroman, teen, YA, epistolary fiction, romance, drugs.
Publication Date: February 1, 1999.
Summary: A coming-of-age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. The book follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up with the help of his two new friends, Sam and Patrick, who will teach him how to let go.
My rating: 9/10.
My review: I truly believe Chbosky has written the perfect bildungsroman for my generation. It's beautiful, it's painful, and it's genuinely, relevantly real. It touches on some of the most prevalent concerns, questions, and concepts of this generation.
and his descriptions resonate with striking poignancy that stay with you long after you may forget the details of the plot.
♥ The next day, we all watched my brother play football. And my sister invited this boy over. I am not sure when he left the previous night. They held hands and acted like everything was happy. And this boy said something about how the football team hasn’t been the same since my brother graduated, and my dad thanked him. And when the boy left, my dad said that this boy was becoming a fine young man who could carry himself. And my mom was quiet. And my sister looked at me to make sure I wouldn't say anything. And that was that.
“Yes. He is.” That's all my sister could say. And I could see this boy at home doing his homework and thinking about my sister naked. And I could see them holding hands at football games that they do not watch. And I could see this boy throwing up in the bushes at a party house. And I could see my sister putting up with it.
And I felt very bad for both of them.
♥ “The thing is some girls think they can actually change guys. And what’s funny is that if they actually did change them, they’d get bored. They’d have no challenge left. You just have to give girls some time to think of a new way of doing things, that’s all. Some of them will figure it out here. Some later. Some never. I wouldn't worry about it too much.”
♥ I look at people holding hands in the hallways, and I try to think about how it all works. At the school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to “their song.” In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys’ jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.
♥ “Do you always think this much, Charlie?”
“Is that bad?” I just wanted someone to tell me the truth.
“Not necessarily. It’s just sometimes people use thought not to participate in life.”
♥ He got this very serious look on his face after I told him, and he said something to me I don’t think I will forget this semester or ever.
“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”
♥ And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.
“I feel infinite.”
And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way. I have since bought the record, and I would tell you what it was, but truthfully, it’s not the same unless you’re driving to your first real party, and you’re sitting in the middle seat of a pickup with two nice people when it starts to rain.
♥ When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was. Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
♥ Mary Elizabeth told me that the thing about Zen is that it makes you connected to everything in the world. You are part of the trees and the grass and the dogs. Things like that. She even explained how her tattoo symbolized this, but I can’t remember how. So, I guess Zen is a day like this when you are part of the air and remember things.
♥ I spent all night working on it, and I hope Patrick likes it as much as I do. Especially the second side. I hope it’s the kind of second side that he can listen to whenever he drives alone and feel like he belongs to something whenever he’s sad. I hope it can be that for him.
♥ When I was done reading the poem, everyone was quiet. A very sad quiet. But the amazing thing was that it wasn't a bad sad at all. It was just something that made everyone look around at each other and know that they were there. Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think that's all you can ever ask from a friend.
♥ I don’t know why, but I really understood why my dad had to leave this house. When he knew my grandma would never find another man because she was through trusting and would never look for anything else because she didn’t know how. And when he saw his sister start bringing home younger versions of their stepfather to date. He just couldn’t stay.
♥ And this one kid Mark at the party who gave me this came out of nowhere and looked at the sky and told me to see the stars. So, I looked up, and we were in this giant dome like a glass snowball, and Mark said that the amazing white stars were really only holes in the black glass of the dome, and when you went to heaven, the glass broke away, and there was nothing but a whole sheet of star white, which is brighter than anything but doesn’t hurt your eyes. It was vast and open and thinly quiet, and I felt so small.
♥ I guess what I’m saying is that this all feels very familiar. But it’s not mine to be familiar about. I just know that another kid has felt this. This one time when it’s peaceful outside, and you're seeing things move, and you don’t want to, and everyone is asleep.
And all the books you’ve read have been read by other people. And all the songs you’ve loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that’s pretty to you is pretty to other people. And you know that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing “unity.”
It’s like when you are excited about a girl and you see a couple holding hands, and you feel so happy for them. And other times you see the same couple, and they make you so mad. And all you want is to always feel happy for them because you know that if you do, then it means that you’re happy, too.
♥ I guess she just didn’t trust him with the truth anymore.
♥ At first, I thought her blank expression was the result of surprise, but after it didn’t go away for a long while, I knew that it wasn’t. It suddenly dawned on me that if Michael were still around, Susan probably wouldn't be “going out” with him anymore. Not because she’s a bad person or shallow or mean. But because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.
♥ “You ever think, Charlie, that our group is the same as any other group like the football team? And the only real difference between us is what we weare and why we wear it?”
“Yeah?” And there was this pause.
“Well, I think it’s all bullshit.”
And he meant it. It was hard to see him mean it that much.
♥ I remember going to sleep last night, and I realized something. Something that I think is important. I realized that throughout the course of the evenings, I wasn’t happy about Craig and Sam breaking up. Not at all.
I never once thought that it would mean Sam might start liking me. All I cared about was the fact that Sam got really hurt. And I guess I realized at that moment that I really did love her. Because there was nothing to gain, and that didn’t matter.
♥ When they both looked up from reading, they were quiet. Nobody smiled or cried or did anything. We were just open, looking at each other. They knew I meant the cards I wrote. And I knew it meant a lot to them.
♥ It’s strange the times people choose to be generous.
♥ She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time.
♥ 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.
I think that if I ever had kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad.
♥ And really, I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don’t know. It's just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Like Sam said. Because it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.