I’m often amazed by the characters in the books I choose to read. I’m always a sucker for a good hero, especially those one would never expect to be so.
Lately, however (three times since I’ve started this column) I’ve included characters with severe psychological disorders. I’m wondering what that says about me.
I also wonder what it means when I’ve read something multiple times. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is one such book. It’s short and sweet, and easily accessible once you get around the stream-of-consciousness writing.
Charlie tells the story of his first year of high school, grueling and heartbreaking in the wake of a friend’s suicide. Coupled with the typical teen angst of drinking, dating and trying to appease his peers, there’s something off about our boy.
Amid the concerned characters revolving in and out of Charlie’s life is his English teacher who keeps feeding him books and telling him to “participate” in life. It’s funny that the books his teacher delves out are those of folks living on the fringe. Even funnier is that this book is one that he would recommend.
Charlie’s experiences are told through a series of letters about the mish-mash of experiences and his reactions in the face of all this change. You never get a handle on who he’s writing to, but it could be you as you carefully pick among pieces of Charlie’s brain. He’s been through a lot, but it is high school, so just go along for the ride.
(This review first appeared in The Lock Haven Express 12/06/12)