20 November 2008

Insert thoughtful title here

Do you ever stop to look over old relations,
Or look to the belly of another one's emotions,
Someone young in the winds of a revolution
Trying to save his face in the evolution.
~ from "Asleep at the Wheel" by the Wallflowers
(lyrics by Jakob Dylan)

Chobsky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: MTV 1999 224 pages.

Stephen Chobsky, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Okay, so maybe that's a bit much. But I really did love this book. I wasn't as thrilled to find out that MTV was the publisher, that sits a little odd with me, but I think that I can disregard that now that I know that the book kicks ass.

The year is 1991 and Charlie is a freshman in high school. He is quiet and he doesn't have very many friends. In fact, when we meet Charlie he is dealing with the suicide of his best friend and a little quieter and more introspective than usual as he tries to figure out his new place. Luckily for Charlie his quirkiness lands him a friendship with the brother/sister senior duo of Patrick and Samantha, and through them finds himself part of a group of thoughtful friends. Typical high school coming of age ensues; drugs, sex, music that really "means" something and more than one realization that leads to a sort of breakdown/grand epiphany.

The story is told as a series of letters Charlie writes to an unknown "friend". Open and honest, Charlie lays his feelings out for the intended reader (who we never know the identity of), making it hard not to feel some sympathy for the poor kid.

I loved the book. I was in high school at the same time (though I would've been a sophomore when Charlie was a freshman) and could relate to a lot of the pop culture references. More specifically, my friends and I used to have Rocky Horror Picture Show parties and go to the theater at midnight for the (infrequent) showings (I was Magenta).

That said, I don't think that I would use that information in my booktalk. I would maybe tout the book as a more up-to-date Catcher in the Rye in many ways. I'm not sure in what grade they read Catcher but it would be neat to get some kids to read the two and then compare them.

1 comment:

  1. I read Catcher as a sophomore in highschool; I haven't read the other one but maybe I will this summer. I loved Catcher.