The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

You might have seen this quote floating around on the internet. Or maybe you remember it from a certain movie. I recall hearing it in the movie adaption of this book. It was a quote I couldn’t let go, because there is so much truth in it. That one sentence made me understand a situation I was in much better. I can’t have been the only one, because this quote and the book it belongs to has gathered a bit of a cult following. We’re talking The Perks of Being a Wallflower here.

There is a kind of unwritten rule when it comes to booklovers. Never watch the movie, before you read the book. I tend to ‘sin’ on this rule sometimes, but in the case of The Perks of Being a Wallflower I haven’t suffered any consequences. The story is still very much the same. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age story about a boy named Charlie. Charlie befriends the older Sam and Patrick, whom give him many first experiences. However it is not a happy go lucky story. Charlie has problems due to his autism and troubled past.

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I can’t say I enjoyed the movie or the book more. They were both different experiences because of the point of view that the book is written in. Everything is told through letters of Charlie. I don’t know what it is about these letters, but it worked for me. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I wanted to read in one sitting. I couldn’t stand to put this book down, while mostly I prefer to read books in a lot of sittings. Not this one! I had to read it all the way through, even before getting to my Christmas dinner.

I think the writingstyle helps with telling the story. I feel as if this would have been a ‘normal’ point of view, I would have thought there was too much drama or things happened to fast. This way it feels natural and Chbosky can get away with a lot. It worked seeing everything through Charlie’s – often confused – eyes, because this helped create tension and suspension in the story. This book helps with many hard themes like: sexuality, suicide, gay relationships, self acceptance, drugs, rape and other types of abuse. All while having some less hard themes like first loves. Somehow it still didn’t feel overpacked, but I know I would have thought so if it weren’t for the letters.

There are some things Chbosky doesn’t get away with. I’m not familiair with the use of drugs in America, but what I got from this book is that it’s very easy to get and very cool to use. Charlie is a so called Wallflower, but still goes to parties where he drinks a lot and uses a lot of drugs. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought a wallflower was someone that doesn’t ‘participate’ and stays on the sidelines a lot. Then how come Charlie goes to all these parties with his friends? Even if the ‘cool’ kids aren’t there. I’d say I was a wallflower in High School (probably even now in college). Mainly because I didn’t go to any parties, never drank or used drugs (I still haven’t used any and I’m from The Netherlands). Media nowadays portrays the use of drugs and partying like a normal thing. Maybe it is these days but this kind of concerns me. It makes me feel like I’ve really missed out on something in my teenage years, because apparentely these are the experiences you’re supposed to have. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t use any drugs if someone asked me to, but is it really that common? This book made it seem like everyone did it. I only know of a few guys in school that did it and to me that was kind of like a huge BAD thing. The point is, you’re not a Wallflower if you go to parties. Stop whining Charlie, there are some of us that didn’t have much of a lovelife in high school. I’m not saying I would have liked to read a book about a kid that didn’t go through anything. The experiences that Charlie has with his new friends are very lively. I loved the book and I loved the movie, but I hope this isn’t a realistic portration of the current youth.

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