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Perks Of Being A Wallflower
“....And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” (Chbosky) The thoughts of a teenager are odd things, and even more odd are the thoughts of fifteen year old Charlie, the best friend of a boy who committed suicide. Charlie has been through a lot in his life, and during the book he goes through even more.
He has grown up relatively normally up until the day his Aunt Helen died, that is when his life changed. He distanced himself and constantly put himself in the hospital. When the book begins, Charlie is about to start his freshman year in high school. Charlie’s writing letters to someone he does not know, and these are what make up the entire book. Within the first few chapters you learn that he does not enjoy being in high school, though he makes two new friends, Sam and Patrick.
"Do you always think this much, Charlie?" (Chbosky) Charlie has an oddly unique view on many aspects of life, some of which being sex and music. He does not seem to understand many things in the normal way, but his thoughts on these things are very thorough. He occasionally looks around himself at the world he is living in and wonders things that nobody else ever thinks of.
On an opposite note, he also understands some things, such as emotions, in an abnormal way.
Occasionally, he learns something new and does not quite understand that some things are kept quiet on purpose, such as in the following quote, “...And I opened the door to the basement, and my sister and this boy were naked... And she screamed at me in a whisper “Get out. You pervert.” So I left.” (Chbosky)
The highly banned book Perks of Being A Wallflower was number three on the top one hundred banned books in America in 2009, because the book is allegedly anti-family, talks about drugs, suicide and homosexuality, has offensive language, is sexually explicit and unsuited to certain age groups (Banned Books Week).
Indefinitely, Is this grounds for boycotting such a well written book? Many concerned parents believe so, but I believe that a simply slight rearranging should be undergone. This “rearranging” would include the book being taken off of the shelves of elementary schools and being only given to middle school students on the grounds of being asked for the book. This would not be a forced choice, but would instead be highly recommended.
The book may be all of the horrible things aforementioned, but it is also truthful. Stephen Chbosky did not hold back while writing this book, and he has painted a perfect picture of how life was when he was young, as well as shining light on the subjects nobody ever wants to mention, but many people face. Some of these subjects being drugs, homosexuality, and ever more pressing, surviving your teenage years. I do not believe that any teenager could say that their lives are perfect when asked. Everyone has problems, whether it be the kind shown in Perks of Being A Wallflower or others.
‘We accept the love we think we deserve.” Whether you like or dislike Perks of Being a Wallflower, this one phrase can seriously make you wonder. The book may not be to your personal liking, but the least any one person can do is actually read through the entire book instead of immediately stereotyping it without reading a page.
My personal view on the book is that, though I myself enjoyed it, it may not be everyone’s favorite. To parents that do not want their children to read Perks of Being A Wallflower, ask their teacher to give them another book instead, but do it politely. To students who do not wish to read the book, ask your teachers if you may read another book instead. Another option is to put a rating on the book, instead of letting anyone who wants to read it be able to and possibly include a warning for parents, students, and teachers within the book.
angelfire.com. website. 26 November 2012
Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc. Website. 26 November 2012
Banned Books. American Library Association. 2011. Website. 26 November 2012
Chbosky, Stephen. Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: Pocket Books, 1999. Book.