A reader's random ramblings

The perks of being a wallflower

Hooray for receiving books as Christmas presents!

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Between Alana, Josh and I, quite a few new books have made their way into our house over Christmas. Alana and I enjoy some of the same reading material, so often a gift for either me or her does double duty when we lend it on to the other to read. I’ve even read books that Josh received in the past too! It’s lovely to have lots of new reading material in the house.

I’ve just finished The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The book was published in 1999; it was received well then, and has generated its fair share of positive reviews in the years since. It’s been on my mental “to read” list for some time. The release of the movie adaptation of the book in 2012 has, I’m sure, been responsible for a resurgence of sales; and it’s what prompted me to add it to my Christmas list.

The perks of being a wallflower is written as a series of letters from Charlie to “a friend”. The letters describe the thoughts, feelings and experiences of Charlie’s freshman year of high school in 1991/1992.

Charlie is fiercely intelligent, introspective, sensitive and lonely. He thinks and feels deeply, and struggles through mental illness. I can identify with Charlie in some ways. I imagine that over the years, many, many readers have related strongly to him. When you live “inside your head”, or find making friends difficult, or feel fundamentally “different” to everyone around you, it’s nice to know that there is someone else that feels the way you do.

Whether or not you identify with Charlie, the relationships and events that unfold over the course of the book are deeply affecting. It delves into not just one but several difficult issues, including abuse and suicide. Sexuality and drugs feature too. For this reason, I believe that this book is best read by older, mature teens and by adults. I have already discussed the book with Alana. I’ve told her that she is welcome to read it, but that she should be aware that she will find it disturbing and demanding. If she does decide to read it, the fact that I already have will mean that I’ll be equipped to talk to her about it and support her if she has any questions or is upset in any way.

Have you read anything new? Received any books for Christmas?

Do you share books with your teenagers? Have you ever had difficulty knowing when to draw the line and not allow your child to read something?

I’d love your feedback.

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This entry was posted on January 1, 2013 by and tagged , , .

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