The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Grade Level: 9TH grade and up

Summary: Charlie is about to start high school but unfortunately his best friend Michael committed suicide, so he is left friendless and on his own. Charlie is intelligent but very shy when it comes to interacting with other people. One day at a football game, he decides to sit next to a guy named Patrick, who he knew from class. Patrick also has a step-sister named Sam, who Charlie likes. Although Sam and Patrick are seniors, they become Charlie’s best friends. They invite him to parties, to their Rocky Horror Picture Show, and help him see that participating in life is better than watching from the sides. Also, throughout out the year especially during Christmas, Charlie remembers his Aunt Helen who died years ago. He blames himself for her death since, she was shopping for his Christmas gift. Additionally, Charlie is unable to recall what his Aunt Helen did to him as a young boy until, years later when an event triggers his memory.

Themes:

  • Growing up is difficult but, it is a phase of life everyone experiences
  • Life begins outside of your comfort zone
  • Friendship is just as important as water

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Reflection: Stephan Chbosky, has created a coming of age story that each person can relate to. Charlie’s character is relatable because he is looking for who he is during his freshman year of high school. Like many teens, high school is where they form interests, hobbies, and experiment with new things. For instance, Charlie had his first girlfriend, first drink, realizes he enjoys writing, and even tries out drugs. Also, Charlie is aware that he is missing out on life since, he is very shy. Through the character Charlie, Chbosky is able to send the message to young adults that life is short, which is why we must make the most of it while we can and learn the worst thing you can do is remain passive.

Possible Student Reaction: After reading this book, a teen will feel hopeful knowing they are not alone and feel inspired to make friends that will help them through their own life struggles. Also, every reader will be able to take away something from the text because it includes so many topics such as, sex, drug use, abortion, domestic violence, homosexuality, relationships between family, teen suicide and child abuse.

Interview with Stephan Chbosky

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