Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
213 pages

Published by MTV Books/Pocket Books

Copyright 1999

Stephen Chbosky was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, which served as the setting of his novel, Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Chbosky is an American novelist, film director, and screenplay writer (“Rent”).  For Perks of Being a Wallflower, he drew great inspiration from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; this novel being very similar yet focused on this day and age.  Chbosky grew up in Upper St. Clair and his book is greatly based off of his high school.  Even some of the teachers are exactly the same.

Perks of Being a Wallflower is centered on high school freshman, Charlie.  He is taken under the wings of two seniors, brother and sister, Patrick and Sam.  Charlie tells his story in anonymous letters addressed “Dear Friend”.  These letters are “more intimate than a diary”.  Charlie’s unique voice is both hilarious and devastating.  Family dramas, first dates, mixed tapes, and new friends are all becoming a part of Charlie’s world.  At the same time, sex, drugs, and new adventures are also entering his world.

The novel is also soon to be made into a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.  It is being filmed in Pittsburgh and will be released in 2012.

This coming of age story seized me from the very first page.  Chbosky created someone people can connect with and relate to through Charlie.  His voice expressed an uncommon innocence that was very appealing as a reader.  “The Perks of Being a Wallflower is part of an MTV Books series that targets teen-age readers. But it is more mature than most young adult literature and can be enjoyed by older readers as well,” says USA Today.

This matchless story is must-read.  After flying through this book, I couldn’t help but flip back to the beginning and start it again.