The Perks of Being A Wallflower is my first book of 2017 and I can’t say it’s a great start. I finished the book and pretty much just went hmmm…I thought the book would be about a wallflower, or a shy boy in high school, instead he really seems to be autistic or struggling to connect emotionally. The book is a series of letters he has chosen to write to someone (a friend of a friend that he has never met) to bear his soul to. I think he’s supposed to be about 15 at the start but his writing style makes him seem younger to me, although maybe it is actually what 15 yr olds sound like and I just can’t remember.
He makes a few new older friends which introduces him to the world or music, sex, and drugs. It’s set in the early 1990’s and my problem with the book is mostly that every issue that you could have in an American high school (drugs, sex, rape, secret gayness, pregnancy etc) happens in a short amount of time. Maybe it’s how American high schools are different from British ones, but are all the kids really putting on performances of Rocky Horror Picture Show and taking LSD?
And every women/girl in the book has been beaten, molested, or raped- it really seems like an upsetting place to live.
(SPOILERS) The aunt of our protagonist was raped by family friend as a child, his mother was beaten by her racist father, his friend was molested, he witnesses a boy force a girl to give a blow job, and his sister is slapped by her boyfriend. His sister carries on seeing the boy and becomes pregnant, chooses to get an abortion sleeps it off in the back of the car, and then gets on with her life. Maybe Mr Chbosky really knew a lot of people who had had bad things happen to them, or maybe he thinks that by including rape and pregnancy he’s highlighting some key women’s issues and furthering the cause. But it kinda just seems like he’s adding a rape backstory to flesh out his female characters because he can’t think of any other way.
The only bit that resonated with me was the strange loneliness he felt when his friends left to go to college, and them in turn being concerned about leaving. But this came right at the end and didn’t get dwelt on. I don’t think I would recommend this book. But maybe it’s just because I never got invited to those parties?