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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Cover of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

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  • AudioFile Magazine Who are those lanky, sad-eyed boys hovering around the edges of parties? This epistolary novel spotlights the world of the brilliant but troubled Charlie, who chronicles his freshman year in a Pennsylvania high school. Johnny Heller lends credibility and urgency as he captures the pitch and tone of a teenager barely out of puberty. Particularly poignant passages include Charlie's descriptions of his relationship with his older brother, a football star; his empathy for his lovelorn older sister; and the hopelessness of his crush on the beautiful Sam. Heller is especially affecting as Charlie deals with sex, drugs, and the heartbreaking truths of his childhood. R.O. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 1, 1999
    A trite coming-of-age novel that could easily appeal to a YA readership, filmmaker Chbosky's debut broadcasts its intentions with the publisher's announcement that ads will run on MTV. Charlie, the wallflower of the title, goes through a veritable bath of bathos in his 10th grade year, 1991. The novel is formatted as a series of letters to an unnamed "friend," the first of which reveals the suicide of Charlie's pal Michael. Charlie's response--valid enough--is to cry. The crying soon gets out of hand, though--in subsequent letters, his father, his aunt, his sister and his sister's boyfriend all become lachrymose. Charlie has the usual dire adolescent problems--sex, drugs, the thuggish football team--and they perplex him in the usual teen TV ways. He hangs out with a group of seniors, among whom are Patrick and Samantha. Patrick is gay, and Charlie learns about gay. Sam is pretty, and Charlie learns about heartbreak. Sam is, alas, going out with Craig. Charlie goes out with the uppity Mary Elizabeth. Patrick goes with Brad but breaks up with him when Brad's father discovers their relationship. Into these standard teenage issues Chbosky infuses a droning insistence on Charlie's supersensitive disposition. Charlie's English teacher and others have a disconcerting tendency to rhapsodize over Charlie's giftedness, which seems to consist of Charlie's unquestioning assimilation of the teacher's taste in books. In the end we learn the root of Charlie's psychological problems, and we confront, with him, the coming rigors of 11th grade, ever hopeful that he'll find a suitable girlfriend and increase his vocabulary.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
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