Although The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Stephen Chbosky’s first popular YA novel, the character and story he creates is masterful. Charlie has always been afraid of the world and too shy to make friends, but through his freshman year of high school he develops and resolves to change this.
Charlie’s point of view begins to change when he meets his mentor and first real friend, his English teacher. This character is most known for the acclaimed quotation from the novel, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” As the year pursues, Charlie approaches his classmate Patrick, who along with his step-sister Sam, becomes his new best friend.
At the conclusion of Charlie’s year, the reason for Charlie’s timid nature is revealed to us. I loved how Chbosky executed this: the reader always knew Charlie had dealt with a traumatic experience in the past but we never were told what happened. Even the foreshadowing was very discrete—what exactly happened was completely unexpected.
Through Charlie’s changing life and new experiences, we are able to see him as a person. He is kind hearted and although he makes hurtful mistakes, he recognizes them and learns to take responsibility.
I think the most fantastic quality of Chbosky’s writing is his character development. We are given insight into his character’s motives and perceptions of life. This is seen not only in Charlie, but his friends as well. Where Sam is perfect in Charlie’s eyes, we are also able to see her flaws—she struggles with self-worth and never really fixes it. Through all of their words and choices we can see their dynamic and whole personalities. I t is definite to say that Chbosky’s characters will never be ‘flat’. None of them are entirely perfect or entirely flawed; he allows us to see that everyone is a little bit of both.
I enjoyed this novel as well as the film. The casting for the film was exact to how imagined the characters, and the story line was carried out well. It certainly did the novel justice.
If you read and liked The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, I also recommend Looking for Alaska by John Green (which I have also done a review for), and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.