A 5 * Review of Stephen Chbowski’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

The Perks of Being a WallflowerI see there is newer version with a cover pic from the movie that has thousands of reviews. Since the cover on the book I borrowed was the original cover, I wrote my review there first.
I recently read that although not nearly as many people watch the movie as read the book, the fact that the movie is made brings attention to the book. This is obviously true here because there are only a few reviews on Amazon with the original cover, yet the cover with a picture from the movie has more than 6,800 reviews. I decided to share my review in both places though, esp. since some parents may be trying to decide if this book is appropriate for their child.
Two young people (18-19) came to my writer’s group and they were in love with this book.
The person who usually keeps our group moving along decided to pick up the book to help him understand the minds of these young adults trying to make their way in the world, as well as trying to express themselves through the art of writing.
I brought the book home and immediately fell in love with it and the character, Charlie.
In my day (the 70’s), only girls or young women were called “wallflowers.” There wasn’t much talk about the inner world of males. The fact that the wallflower was Charlie, a male, made me very interested in the story. Charlie was shy and like many teens, self-conscious and probably too introspective (personally, I still have this problem). It makes me happy to know that there is a place a young person can go to realize they really aren’t all that odd.
Charlie makes the typical teen mistakes, but since he has a very small circle of friends, one mistake (being intimate with a girl when he is in love with the girl’s best friend), leads to problems with his small clique of friends.
Charlie sees a psychiatrist, which in my day, almost never happened. I am glad that this was included in the story as it helps the reader see that talking to a therapist can be helpful even when you are sure they are picking up the wrong cues and asking the wrong questions. In fact, JUST talking to almost anyone, helps us figure out the real problems and how we can deal with them.
Also, Charlie had lost a loved one, the only person who really took the time to listen and understand him. Many of us, Americans, try to forget our loved ones who are gone, but maybe that’s why Charlie’s parents put him in therapy. Perhaps they understood Charlie needed to talk about this loss. There is another loss in the story, but I was not clear whether the parents were aware of what that meant to Charlie.
Although there are parents who might not want their kids to read this book (Charlie does experiment with pot & there is that intimate, yet clumsy scene with the girl), however I believe it is the perfect book to help students write out and write THROUGH their pain.
I know I would have grown up a lot faster if I had a book like this and a group where I could talk freely! Luckily, I did have my younger sister! Who knows where I’d be without here!
My hope is to someday help young people write through their pain and learn that they are not alone. Although I have taught teens for more than 20 years, a regular classroom doesn’t really allow for this type of sharing much of the time.
Sherrie (or Sherpeace)
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

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