Well, I told you that I’d be taking a YA Lit class this semester, so that explains the heavy dose of teenage-friendly books on the site recently. This book is an epistolary novel-one that is composed of letters, rather than written out in traditional form. The letters are from Charlie, a shy, rather awkward freshman in Pittsburgh, around the early 90s. Charlie chooses a random person out of the phone book, and begins writing letters. They have a confessional tone to them: Charlie discusses music, friends, and heavy issues like drug use, abortion, death and questions about homosexuality.
Charlie befriends a step-brother and sister team, Sam and Patrick, and together they go to parties, listen to music, talk about life, and navigate the trials of youth. Charlie’s older brother is away at university on a football scholarship, and his older sister is a senior in high school. Throughout the novel, Charlie’s English teacher assigns him extra books to read, such as Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. Charlie claims that all of the books are his favorites, and I really like the way the references to the other books give depth to Charlie’s character.
I have never been a fan of the epistolary form, but Charlie’s endearingly frank voice won me over. His observations are an adorable combination of naive curiosity and straightforward, heart-rending comments on loss, grief, and abuse.
This isn’t my favorite book, but Charlie really has an appealing voice, and it reads quickly, so I don’t want to dis-recommend it, either!
The aforementioned YA lit class? I’m in the university library now, and if I don’t stop writing, I’ll be late to it!
Publisher’s Website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Stephen-Chbosky/1843916
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. MTV: New York. 1999. 213 pp. Paperback. ISBN: 978-0671027346
If you liked this book, I think you’ll also like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.