The novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book written by Stephen Chbosky an American writer and it was first published in 1999. The story revolves around through a series of letters that Charlie writes to several unnamed friends. Importantly, the letters are chronicles of Charlie’s triumphs, tabulations, and trials that he goes through his first year of high school. Moreover, Charlie starts writing the letters after the death of his friend, and he feels lonely in the world as school begins. Although the letters are a chronicle of Charlie adventure with his newfound friends, he also reflects on his personal problems that he encounters and deals with every day. He always worries about other people in the society and tries to determine what is going beneath the society. Similarly, he becomes obsessed with the death of Aunt Helen who died on his birthday while buying his a second birthday gift. Throughout the story, Charlie meets different people struggling with difficult personal issues such as cheating, drug abuse, and abortion.
The novel The Perk of Being a Wallflower highlights real world problem that a making young people lose their mind in some dirty things. The problems that the book highlights include drug abuse, sexual abuse, homosexuality, and bullying. Charlie will take any narcotics that his friends give him be it marijuana, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes (Chbosky 78. He abuses the drugs because other people in the community are doing so and he does not want to be left behind because of peer pressure. In the novel, there are several instances of sexual abuse. The main one involves Charlie where his aunt molested him at a younger age. However, Charlie does not realize that his aunt used to pester him.
These incidences help the reader understand the characters well. For instance, Charlie’s aunt used to harass him but when Sam tries to touch him the way his aunt used to Charlie realizes that his aunt used to abuse him sexually. Moreover, this is the reason why Charlie becomes fascinated by sex, and most of his letters are about his sexual desires for Sam. However, Charlie at first tries to hide his sexual desires but later confesses to Sam about his feelings for her. The incidences, help the readers view life opposite of their experience. This is because not every person who reads the book go through the same experience as Charlie. Most of us do not abuse drugs at all although we have friends who do so.
The book talks mainly about things that affect the young people who are at their adolescent stage. “I asked Patrick if he felt sad that he had to keep it a secret, and Patrick just said that he wasn’t sad because at least now, Brad doesn’t have to get drunk or stoned to make love” ( Chbosky 109). This makes it suitable for them to read because the things that the books talks about are the ones they are experiencing. However, they should read it under the guidance of an adult to help them understand the books correctly and not to practice such activities such as drug abuse and sexual violence and activities at an early stage.
Brad and Patrick’s relationship is intimate as they are both homosexuals. The relationship is full of secrecy, as Brad does not want to accept openly that he is a gay and Patrick has to adhere to his wishes. Moreover, Brand struggles to take his identity a Gay trying to negotiate the harsh high school life. The relation between Patrick and Brad is not ideal as it depends on the weight of secrecy one has to keep (Chbosky 58. Moreover, Brad it to ready to accept that he is gay. Additionally, maintaining the relationship as secret means that the norms of the community forbid such relationships.
Patrick understands of Brad’s feelings and even defends him in several occasions. However, when Brad’s father finds in their intimate activities them he beats up his son. Consequently, Brad turns a cold shoulder to Patrick who relentlessly refuses to accept the breakup. Patrick tries to get back with Brad over lunchtime, but Brad friends punch Patrick who is saved by Charlie. No real friendship is built in secret “He’s a wallflower…You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand” (Chbosky 98). As evident from the incidence between Brad and Patrick were Brad decides to keep secret about his gay relationship with Patrick. It later results to an end of the relationship after his father his father discover the secret. Moreover, relationships that have foundation on secrets do not last long.
Most current high school students view homosexuality as unacceptable practice in the community. Homosexuality might have gain support from several governments and societies over the past few decades, but it is no yet acceptable among most high school students. Moreover, most students in high school who engages in a same-sex relationship are subjected to bullying that results in suicides among lesbians, transgender, and gay students (Chbosky 35). Similarly, it is not helpful, as most states around the world have passed laws in favor of same-sex marriages and relationships.
Most readers, unlike Charlie, might not be aware of the pain of sexual abuse caused by trusted people mainly the family members. Besides high school can provide one of the most suffering years to a student as it did to Charlie. Likewise, most teens angst about friends, belonging, self-identification and sex are some of the biggest problems that most youths are struggling with just like Charlie (Chbosky 56). Majorly these things make students lose their focus on education and start engaging in some activities such as drug abuse for comfort and relaxation.
High school life is one of the most challenging life experience for students “I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be” (Chbosky 97). However, if students can enjoy high school life if they help one another at the times of needs and understand their feelings. Had Brad’s friends learned of Patrick and Brad relationship from the start they would not have punched Brad. As a result, they would have talked to Brad to solve they issue with Patrick in a more peaceful way. Moreover, friendship is an important bond that is crucial for students to push forward their objective and ideas. Charlie might not seem the supportive friend in the story, but he does what he can to keep his entire friend together.
The problems of drug abuse, sexual assault, and homosexuality among students are experienced everywhere in the world. Most students are committing suicides because their fellow learners are bullying them if they engaged in a same-sex relationships. It makes the students become afraid and conduct their intimate affairs in secrecy and if the relationship discovered it leads to a significant drift and hatred between the lovebirds as it happened between Patrick and Brad. Moreover, most parents do not approve of such relationship as it is against community teachings and norms.
Charlie writes his letter to his friend about his life experience during his fist year at high school. Yes, I consider myself a friend of Charlie. However, he does not name the person or the friend who the letters are addressed to. Mainly, the letters are about his sexual experience with his friend and family members. At some point, he uses the letters to express his anger with the personal problems that he encounters and deals with every day. “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad, and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be” (Chbosky 11). Charlie is in constant search of greater understanding of his friend’s family, and the society as a whole. He wants to know what all the side these individuals wants to show the public and the ones they decide to show.
From his search, he gets to understand the thing people decided to keep a secret such as their relationship. For instance the relationship between Patrick and Brad. The reasons I consider myself a friend of Charlie is because most of the things he is talking about in his letters are meant to advise me on the things I should avoid and the one I should engage in. Importantly, the letters speak of drug abuse, sexuality, and sexual violence is the biggest problems that the youths are struggling with. The book is advice to the young generation on the things they are to encounter ahead. Moreover, the thing that he is talking about I have encountered at some point in my life such as drug abuse due to peer pressure (Chbosky 30). What Charlie is trying to pass to the readers is that peer pressure influence our decision making, and it is important that to be careful to avoid the influence of friends.
In the novel, Charlie regularly understands of everything and everyone. Importantly he wants to know why people do the things the way they do. Charlie is encouraged to participate in his life more. As the story progresses, he meets several friends who include Sam, Patrick, Brad, and Mary Elizabeth. Moreover, Charlie starts writing the letters after the death of his friend, and Charlie feels lonely in the world as school begins (Chbosky 58). Although the letters are a chronicle of Charlie adventure with his newfound friends, he also reflects on his personal problems that he encounters and deals with every day.
Towards the end of the novel Charlie friend are moving away making him feel lonely. Most of them are completing their final year while he is completing his first year. Because most of his friend have completed their last year, Charlie does not participate in in events as much as he used to when his friend were around. I would be friend with Charlie because he seems to be a nice person to be around with. For instance, he comes to Patrick’s aid when Brad’s friend punches him. Consequently, Charlie needs friends to help him come to terms with the loss of his friend Michael and his Aunt. Michael was his best friend, and he loved his aunt very much “So, please believe me when I tell you that I felt terrible after Michael died, and I saw a girl in class, who didn’t notice me, and she talked all about you to a friend of hers” (Chbosky 110). Similarly, Charlie is someone who always worries about his friend and want what is good for them.
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.
Chbosky, Stephen. The perks of being a wallflower. Simon and Schuster, 2012.