I was very dismissive about the book, my perception influenced by my latest readings i.e. the Carrie Diaries.
Both books have a similarity – high school kids and the difficult stage of life they are in. Both stories are told in first person – one is writing a diary the other a letter. Both stories have characters that are involved in the act of mindless smoking/drugs/sex.
But that is where the similarity ends.
While Carrie Diaries was a boring read with neither a story nor any memorable characters, the Perks of being a Wallflower is different and memorable.
Like I mentioned earlier, I was very dismissive about the book, flipping the pages, waiting for something to happen till I reached halfway through the book. Slowly and steadily the author had built in a story that had me hooked. It was subtle and ingenious. I started to read eagerly wondering what would happen next while at the same time regretting the fact that the unread pages were diminishing and the book would soon end.
The author never clearly articulates what is wrong with Charlie, he is a good student and gets good grades but talks funny and thinks differently as compared to the other children. Let me correct that, Charlie is honest. Honest like no one I have ever seen or read and that immediately endeared him to me.
The author does a wonderful job in bringing out Charile’s innocence and making the reader love him..or at least feel for him. That is why the end that reveals the truth about Charile’s past comes as a shock. Like every other thing it is slipped in gradually and then suddenly it hits you. Oh My God! Did that happen? Is it the reason why he is so different?
Anways, good things happen to good people and that is how the book ends and one feels happy that Charile is filled with confidence – something that he clearly lacked at the start of the letters.
When I finished the book I immediately wanted to read it again – something that rarely happens with me. And that I why I ordered the book online (along with Jellicoe Road) and now await its delivery eagerly.
There are some wonderful lines in the book which is quoted in almost all reviews and even though the writing comes across as childish and immature even though his English grades are good (this I found inconsistent) the book has a feel good factor about it.
If I ignore the profanities and substance abuse, all I see is sixteen year old kid on the verge of adulthood who is scared of the big bad world/future out there. And like all other parents I can only wish them well and hope that they don’t deviate from the right path, that Charlie’s thoughts remain as pure even when he grows up.