I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

In full disclosure, I saw the movie first, and I must say that I liked the movie more, just because it was so much more vivid and colorful and spectacular.  The movie remains very faithful to the book, which is why I can also honestly say I loved the book.

This book is written in letters by Charlie to a person unknown to him that he heard about at school and with whom he feels the need to write to.  The year before Charlie became a freshman, his best friend committed suicide.  That almost sent Charlie back to the psych doctors where he went on his seventh birthday, December 24, when he found out his favorite aunt had died in a car accident going out to buy a birthday gift for him.

Charlie starts out the school year alone but soon makes friends with seniors and step-brother and sister, Patrick and Sam.  They introduce him to a new world and bring him out of his shell and get him to "participate" in life more as his English teacher keeps telling him to do.  During the school year, this teacher would give  him extra books to read and have him write essays that had nothing to do with his grades but would improve his writing and expand his horizons.

Sometimes Charlie has uncontrollable rages, where he can absolutely destroy someone.  When he is picked on by a bully during his first days, he beats him up.  Because of this rage, that rarely comes out, he doesn't play sports, like his college freshman football playing brother, Brad.  His Senior sister dates a guy who once hit her, even though she's not supposed to do so.

Charlie, Sam and Patrick often meet at the Big Boy and talk about everything going on in their minds and in their lives.  They also do the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Sam is dating an older guy named Craig who doesn't appreciate her and Patrick is secretly seeing the quarterback of the football team, until things go horribly wrong and Charlie must save Patrick, for once.

Sam knows that Charlie loves her, but at the very beginning she tells him that it would never work and to give up on the idea.  So, when Mary Elizabeth, one of their friends, asks him out to the Sadie Hawkins Dance, he goes.  He doesn't really like her that way and all she does is talk.  Soon, unable to tell her no, he finds himself dating her, and ultimately resenting her, until one night when he royally screws everything in his world up and almost loses all of his friends.

This book is about friendships, family, what its like to be in high school during those horrid years, and how a young man is trying to open himself up to the world instead of staying inside and being an observer all the time.  This book will touch your heart and break it with the climax at the end.  It will remind you of all those times you didn't belong and the one time in your life when you did.  Will Charlie survive high school after all his friends have graduated?  Who knows?  But his journey through this year he thought would be really tough, opens him up to a new world.

Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him.
--Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower p 16)
-Do you always think this much, Charlie?
-Is that bad?
-Not necessarily.  It’s just that sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.
-- Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower p 24)
Not everybody has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse.
-- Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower p28)
The only thing she asked me the whole time was whether or not I wanted to kiss her good night.  When I said I wasn’t ready, she said she understood and told me what a great time she had.  She said I was the most sensitive boy she’d ever met, which I didn’t understand because really all I did was not interrupt her.
-- Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower p 114)
I almost didn’t get an A in math, but then Mr. Carlo told me to stop asking ‘why?’ all the time and just follow the formulas.  So, I did.  Now, I get perfect scores on all my tests.  I just wish I knew what the formulas did.  I honestly have no idea.
-- Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower p 165)
We accept the love we think we deserve.
Link to Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Perks-Being-Wallflower-Stephen-Chbosky/dp/1451696191/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479480552&sr=1-1&keywords=perks+of+being+a+wallflower

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