The Perks of Being a Wallflower
He is a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. You understand.
When my friend told me that Percy Jackson and Hermione Granger were in a movie together, I got pretty excited and wasted no time in watching it. I later learnt that “The perks of being a wallflower” is originally a book by Stephen Chbosky. Pretty obvious, considering the main characters, isn’t it? I got a copy of it, spent an afternoon reading it, and the rest of the week, pondering over it. It is just not one of those stories you can easily forget.
Charlie is a wallflower.
noun: wallflower; plural noun: wallflowers
(informal) a shy or excluded person at a dance or party, especially a girl without a partner.
Charlie is by no means a girl without a dance partner. He is a smart-beyond-his-age, socially retired boy, who is trying his best to blend in. Having said that, it is not one of those novels in which the shy boy suddenly becomes popular and leads a happy life ever after. Every instance in this novel seems plausible and authentic.
As Charlie navigates the way through his high school by making friends, writing essays and battling his past, I often found myself rooting for him and many a times, comparing my life with his. I have nothing in common with this 15 year old introvert but I can’t deny the fact that I am still trying to find my own perspective of life and all that that comes along, the same way he does.
Having dealt with the loss of his best friend recently, Charlie writes about how he wishes to make new friends and starts school with the hope that people don’t think of him as the kid who spent time at the hospital. He soon befriends two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who gladly welcome him into their cluster. Charlie is easily influenced by his friends and starts experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Between a few parties, a Sadie Hawkins dance, a game of truth or dare, a Christmas, a fight at the ‘nutrition center’, a few football games and a graduation party, a lot goes down for Charlie and his friends. Have faith in me when I say that Charlie has a fantastic taste in music. You will greatly enjoy the mix tapes he makes for his friends.
One might blame his friends for the habits he picks up. What should also be noted is that Charlie would have never gotten over his past if it was not for them. This is where we learn a beautiful lesson. Blaming people for the mistakes we commit will make no difference. We live life the way we choose to live. It starts with us and that’s where it also ends.
A pivotal position in the novel is when Charlie questions his English teacher Mr. Bill, "Why do good people let themselves get treated so badly?" Mr. Bill replies, "We accept the love we think we deserve". This is exactly what Chbosky had in his mind when he started writing the novel. He has not only done an amazing job of conveying that but has also given us a myriad of thoughts to contemplate and carry forward.
The letters end when Charlie decides that he needs to spend more time in participating in life.
As Charlie says, this moment will just be another story someday.