The Perks of Being a Wallflower has often been called the modern day Catcher In The Rye.
Written in 1994 by Stephen Chbosky, it is only recently that the cult book has been propelled into the spotlight thanks to the movie adaption with an all star cast, including Emma Watson and Paul Rudd.
The story follows Charlie, a freshman in high school and a lonely misfit. Due to Charlie’s introverted character, the novel is epistolary; made up of letters that Charlie writes to an anonymous ‘friend’. Throughout the course of the school year, we follow Charlie as he navigates his way through high school, social cliques and turbulent friendships.
Charlie quickly befriends Sam and Patrick, brother and sister who are both seniors at the same school. Thanks to his newfound friendship and close relationship with his English teacher, Charlie’s letters soon become more exciting as his experiences become more diverse.
Chbosky does something remarkable with this book. He has modernised the classic social-misfit-becomes-popular story and made it completely original and entertaining. The book may be lacking in an adventurous plot but it more than makes up for it in the writing. Most readers will unexpectedly learn a lot from such an ordinary sounding story.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower quickly became one of my favourite books after the first time I read it. Chbosky’s story takes readers back to remembering how exciting, terrifying and emotional growing up can be and why every minute of it should be enjoyed. This is a truly unique coming of age story.