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05 July 2006 @ 08:55 am
Stephen Chbosky’s THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (4.5 stars)  
Stephen Chbosky’s THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is the simplest book I’ve ever read. And when I say simple, I don’t mean it in a Lennie-From-Of-Mice-And-Men sort of way. I mean it in a How-Are-These-Letters-Getting-Me-To-Feel-So-Much? way. The honest voice trapped within this series of letters records a year in the life of a sensitive guy just trying to survive and understand his freshman year of high school.

Charlie can’t help being so quiet and observant. He doesn’t have many friends, and the ones he manages to make are two or three years older than he is. Like Sam, the senior girl who doesn’t think he’s crazy for being who he is. And Patrick, who lets him in on the secrets of teenage life. And Bill, the first-year teacher who gives Charlie advanced reading assignments because he realizes there’s a gifted side to Charlie that nobody else but Aunt Helen ever sees. But those friends are the ones who get him to understand that life may be good when you sit back and observe but it’s infinitely better when you participate.

If only things were that easy. His dad’s telling him to work through his problems because some people have it much worse than he does. His brother’s gone off to college. His sister won’t stop seeing the guy who beats her. Patrick doesn’t want anyone to know he’s gay. In fact, everyone seems to trust him with their deepest darkest secrets and expect him to lock them up inside. On top of that, the girl he loves won’t look at him that way because he’s too young.

Until the Secret Santa gift exchange and the party scene and the kiss and the slashed tires and the joyride to the city with Sam and Patrick with the stereo playing music they’ll never forget and Sam standing up in the back of the truck and the wind whirling her dress and the lights of the city flashing into view and them feeling infinite. Because if anything’s capable of changing a wallflower, it’s that. And it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

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The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on July 5th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Let me offer a preemptive, "Wasn't it great?"