The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky, Pocket Books ($28)
Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book as startling as it is affecting. It‘s the story of Charlie, a young man leaving his childhood behind while still unsure about what the rest of life might bring. In this book, he experiences loneliness, tragedy, change and love- and the story into which they are woven is a thing of beauty.
Chbosky is a hugely perceptive and honest writer, alive to the complicated interior life of real people. The characters who populate Perks never let us off the hook; they move with the uneasy and fraught energy of real teenagers and their parents, resisting our attempts to pin them to the simple types we might expect.
Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book which earns its sadness, its beauty and its joy. It is not a novel about teens, or about issues, or anything so simple as that. It is about people, both ordinary and special, who we come to know and care about. Perks is a story which has stayed with me since I first read it, four years ago, and I can think of no greater recommendation than that.