I’m writing this to tell you about a book I’ve read, a book that meant so much to me that I feel like everyone should read it. To quote Hazel Grace: “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” This book was like that for me, which is why I’m writing this.
Fair warning, we all know that there’s a certain degree of elitism that surrounds reading books labelled young adult. Most “grown-ups” shy away from the genre, thinking they would be seen as immature (and no, I’m not kidding you) but I have found that there are gems hidden on the bookshelves that cater to the younger generations and one of those gems was this book. I had heard of it for a while, even more so since they made a movie that features Emma Watson and and Logan Lerman, but I only got around to reading it last week. It took about three hours and as most book lovers know, if you can devour a book, it’s because it’s good.
Most people call this a coming of age novel and I have to agree with that statement. As I turned each page I had a single regret, not having read it when I was the age of the characters. Despite being over a decade past the age of adolescence, it still resonated with me, reminding me of a time I had long forgotten, a time where I was a lot like Charlie in too many aspects to count out. That is the mark of a good book, its ability to connect with a reader, even if said reader isn’t part of the niche.
But let’s see what it’s all about, shall we? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is in fact a collection of letters, sent to an anonymous individual that works as a sounding board for Charlie’s thought process. Charlie, a fifteen year old when the letters start, goes through the process of growing up and discovering who he really is. Every single one tells a story, a story of his life, of the things he’s seeing and feeling, the thoughts that cross his mind when he observes the world he chooses to stay away from, until finally he figures out what shaped his personality, what made him who he is and how to fight back to reclaim the things he’s shied away from for too long.
He discovers friends and hurt, enemies and frenemies and everything in between and since this is a book about a fifteen year old, there is also a sprinkle of love added, just enough to keep things interesting, not enough to turn this book into, yet another, smut fest. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little bit tired of having it repeated over and over again that young people only have one thing in mind. It might be true, but I can count at least a few people who don’t share in on that belief, despite their age.
That’s the best I can manage, without giving everything away, but once you reach the final page you’ll understand that it’s worth reading without any pre-conceived ideas, without any input from someone else’s vision on what the book is about and why it was written and whether or not it means something to you.
Do yourself a favour and pick it up at the library or at the book store, even if it’s on the shelf that so many adults fear getting close to, like all the characters in Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments combined will somehow jump out to kick their asses. I promise you’ll find a way to thank me later for it.