Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Love always, Charlie"...

I decided to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower after I saw the film earlier this year on the flight to New York. As a general rule for films of this kind, I always like to read the book as well as watch the movie. It's taken me a while to get around to reading this mainly because the library never had a copy in but also because I was finishing off my degree.

Random fact: I hate it when books do this with their covers, I much prefer the original fronts!
Having seen the film, I knew the main plotlines and that the story centred around a teenage boy called Charlie. Instead of chapters, the book is split into four parts each made up of several letters Charile has written to an anonymous friend. The letters are about Charile's everyday life and all follow the same format of ending "Love always, Charlie". 

Initially, it took a few letters to get used to the way that Charlie spoke but once I got into the swing of things, I really started to like the way Charlie wrote to his friend. The character writes how he speaks so that it is almost like a transcript of him talking out loud - it provides a lot of detail for the reader and an insight into the querky ways of Charlie. When reading, I found that knowing the main parts to the story only increased my urge to finish the book as I wanted to see how accurately the film portrayed Steven Chbosky's original story. 

The review on the front cover of the edition I had compares The Perks of Being a Wallflower to The Catcher in the Rye, but for me, this story makes more sense. There appears to be a point to it whereas I found The Catcher in the Rye seemed like a random sequence of events thrown together for the purpose of a book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower feels like a tale that has a purpose. It tells you Charlie's struggles with life and being "normal". I think teenagers of any walk of life will relate to the midfield of high school that Charlie struggles with. Once you adapt to Charlie's way, your heart warms to him and you feel his confusion at the world. I found myself investing in Charlie's life, caring about what happened to the fictional character - I think this says a lot about Chbosky's abilities as a writer and how he can draw an audience in. 

On finishing the book, I felt satisfied that I'd understood Charlie's story and didn't feel cheated out of my time in the way some authors fail at adequately ending a story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone; whether you're a teenager going through school or you're slightly older and have been through it before this coming of age novel is a pure delight. 


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