A book review:Stem 2 Caressgen B. Apuli The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The epistolary novel of the same name – follows Charlie , the eponymous wallflower, as he enters his freshman year of high-school. As the movie starts, Charlie is shy to the point of being nearly mute; he’s unpopular, socially awkward, a lover of books and a decidedly unconventional thinker. He has no friends, no direction and no confidence. School is a never-ending parade of indignities, insults and the painful isolation of feeling alone in a crowd.

And yet over the course of a year, Charlie – with some help from his friends – grows and changes into a far more confident and self-assured young man. He may have been a wallflower when he started… but he’s far more at the end.

And if you’re the sort of person who can relate to Charlie’s situation, whether you’re in high-school, college or older, there’s a lot to learn from his growth.  Chbosky chose letters as his narrative structure. so that the reader feels as if  The letters were written to HIM/HER. So that every chapter mentioned in the book resonates a personal opinion and recollection. So that the realism of the fact that you are listening to Charlie’s stories second-hand through an adolescent point of view and voice is maintained.By using the epistolary format it Evokes a certain dramatic mood is only one of the reasons why authors might use letters or diary

entries in their novels. The most obvious benefit is character development, and allowing your protagonist or supporting cast to have their own distinct voices and individual ways of looking at the world.

Reading a novel in epistolary form can be much more fun and engaging than sticking with a single, omniscient narrator. Of course, it’s also a challenge. Maintaining your dramatic structure or making the chronology of your novel clear while using only letters can be really difficult, which is why many famous authors have written in only partial epistolary form.  The novel will be different if the author uses first person and third person narrative because it can include only what that main character sees. This limits the amount of information or background in the story. The reader doesn’t get to see the action from any other character’s point of view. The story may gives one main person’s experience and view on anything that happens. For this reason, the story can miss out on different angles. It may take the story longer to reveal pieces of information because the main character didn’t experience them firsthand. The author may miss out on the opportunity to include action or conversations between other characters because the main character didn’t actually witness the events taking place.It will become boring  using “I” throughout the story can  feel repetitive to the readers. At the beginning of the novel, Charlie suggests that he was “by” to write to “a friend.” He begins every letter with “dear friend.”but to whom Charlie was Charlie writing? Did he really write a letter for his friend ? I don’t think so. Well, considering he is an introvert, I would rather say he writes for himself.

Its one of the ways recommended for psychological treatment. Its easier for introverts to express themselves when they have a support. I thought he might be writing to himself as a coping mechanism. the part says I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. cause he was gonna sleep with Sam and then he doesn’t. I don’t know. I’m fascinated by this book .It doesn’t matter to whom he was writing, what more important is that we can feel the emotions and we can relate to the story. As i am reading the book, I can relate to the protagonist of the story. I remember during  my grade school days, I am alone just like what he feels I am a wallflower. Charlie  is a very quiet boy.  He keeps things to himself, and is always thinking.  He watches people and studies them, but he’s not judgmental.  Charlie doesn’t make friends easily, which is very hard for him.  Charlie has anger management problems.  He keeps everything inside of him, and it will eventually boil over, and he gets angry.  The best word to describe Charlie is emotionally unstable. Towards the end of the book, Chbosky explains why Charlie is awkward and has anger problems.  His Aunt Helen died when Charlie was 7 years old.  Aunt Helen was Charlies favorite person in the world.  On the day of his birthday Aunt Helen went out to buy him a second present, she got in a car crash and died.  Charlie took all the guilt and put it on himself.  But what concludes why Charlie is the way he is, is due to Aunt Helen molesting him when he was little.  No one knew about this, and Charlie gets washed away after finding this out.  It takes a long time and effort to rebuild his emotions, and himself It was probably because of Charlie’s low self-esteem. he treated himself like crap. he was always the quiet child, teacher’s pet, psycho kid and all that. and he must have thought that since he was already a failure, he doesn’t need to do things that others can keep on reminding that he is a good-for-nothing, which was entirely wrong. i may have been or still am like Charlie, but I have actually never felt this way. honest

It could be argued that Charlie’s greatest friend and ally is Sam. Sam is the person who originally brings him into her friend group, makes him feel comfortable, and tries to help him have a better high school experience. However, when Charlie makes a mistake and is rejected from the group, it is only Patrick that continues to spend time with Charlie and make him feel worthwhile. This would imply that perhaps Patrick is actually Charlie’s greatest ally.

Charlie’s worst influence is his Aunt Helen. Although she passed away before these situations occurred in Charlie’s life, Charlie is suppressing a traumatic experience that happened to him in his childhood, of which she was the cause. He will not accept what his Aunt Helen did to him, how she abused him. He does not make this realization until he has a sexual experience with Sam which brings back these buried, traumatic memories. Aunt Helen is his worst influence because she is the cause of his depression throughout the novel, even at the points where he does not realize it.

From Naked Lunch by William Burroughs to Harold and Maude to the Beatles’  song ‘Dear Prudence’ Charlie references numerous pieces of literature, film and music. How did these references shape your reading ? Why are they so important to Charlie ?

These references are what made this book so original. it seems like you are peeping into someone’s diary. it doesn’t make Charlie just a literary character, it makes him human. it feels as if he just comes out of the book, and talks to you (vice versa of what happened in Chamber Of Secrets). I think the fans deserve more when they are reading a book about everyday life and Stephen Chbosky has given us just that. Like when you are discussing perks, you can take pride in identifying with the character. You can sorta say ‘i like the type of music that Sam loves’ or ‘that book just sucked, i don’t know why charlie liked that’ and all. i think these pieces of art are so important to Charlie because they express themselves, unlike Charlie does. it is inspiring for him. for eg. take the song Asleep. it describes what his friend Micheal must have gone through before committed suicide. it sort of describes his state too. now on a personal front, i think it is a relationship with the characters that you have when you have finished reading a book or watching a movie. for eg. i have decided to pursue archaeology in future just after watching Indiana jones. he is the most coolest guy in the world for me. escaping from criminals internationally, finding artifacts that defines our time on this planet and getting women while still being a low-paid archaeologist. that’s one hell of a life ! now on a literary front, i take charlie himself. he is ‘me’ and that is so cool and heart warming to know that there are people in these wide world who are just like me. that’s why i think they are so important to charlie. it is just escapism, like the nerd nebula calls it .When Bill invites Charlie over for lunch Charlie observes, “He was talking for real. It was strange.” What do you think Charlie means by “real”? How does he discern between what is real and what is not real?  When he says real, he means that Bill was being honest about his thoughts and emotions with no filter of any kind. Anybody who squander opportunities to speak their mind and be open with their fellow humans is not real in Charlie’s mind.Sam confronts Charlie before she leaves for college, pleading: “You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.” Do you agree with Sam? How does this exchange relate to their relationship on a grander scale? I agree with Sam because relationships are two-way streets. If one person isn’t happy, neither is the other person, which is why the relationship between Charlie and Mary Elizabeth fell apart so easily. Sam felt like Charlie had a filter between his mind and mouth and wasn’t always honest about what he felt about her. Let us move to the Discussion on Aunt Helen’s character and presence in the novel. Were you surprised when the truth about her relationship with Charlie was revealed? In what other ways did seemingly positive aspects of Charlie’s life turn out to be negative?  Everybody has demons in their lives in one way or another. The fact that Aunt Helen’s demons of being molested were revealed doesn’t shock or surprise me, because I’ve seen a lot of horrible things in my life and I’m numb to everything. Another positive that turned into a negative was Charlie discovering that his relationship with Sam wasn’t unbreakable. She was hurt badly when Charlie betrayed Mary Elizabeth and wasn’t inclined to forget about it for a long time. After watching the art film with Mary Elizabeth, Charlie says: “The movie itself was very interesting, but I didn’t think it was very good because I didn’t really feel different when it was over.” Do you agree with Charlie that in order to be “good”, creative works must make you feel differently? Who did you feel after reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower? Even in minor ways, yes, creative works have to make you feel differently. If you’re watching an action movie, you should be excited. If you’re watching a romantic movie, you should learn to believe in love again. In terms of this book, I did feel differently. I felt jealous that I couldn’t have the same romantic relationships as Charlie had when I was a teenager. It inspired me to write a heavy metal song called “The Language of Fire”, which doesn’t need much explaining as to what it’s about. Discuss the following passage: “Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective. Sometimes I think that the only perspective is to really be there.” How has Charlie’s outlook shifted from the beginning of the story? In the beginning, he allowed his parents to tell him that his problems weren’t comparable to a starving child in China. By the end of the story, he realized that despite other people having it worse, the problems still remain and still need attention.The Perks of Being a Wallflower grapples with a complex, universally difficult stage in life. What reflections did it inspire about your own life? What parts of the story resonated most deeply with you? Considering that most of my childhood was riddled with bullying, the part of the story that hit me the hardest was the cafeteria fight scene where Patrick had to be rescued from the homophobic football players. The ratio of my childhood of bullying to friendship weighed heavily in favor of the former, so anytime Charlie discussed how great his friendships were, I got jealous.


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