Otázka: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Přidal(a): Miroslav Hrubý
Young adult fiction
Charlie is a 15-year-old boy who recently started high school. He’s coping with a lot of problems so he decides to start writing letters about his problems and life in general (mainly his high school experience) to an unknown Friend. He doesn’t really know who this person is but they are known for being nice. He is also coping with the recent death of his friend Michael and the death of his aunt Helen (she died 8 years ago).
The first day of high school Charlie’s English teacher notices his passion for literature and assigns him extra reading. Charlie goes out of his comfort zone and makes two new friends: Patrick and Sam. Charlie finds out that Patrick is dating Brad but is asked to keep it a secret. Sam is Patrick’s stepsister. Charlie develops a crush on Sam. Later, Sam kisses Charlie to ensure that his first kiss is from someone who truly loves him.
Later in the book, Charlie finds out that his sister is pregnant and the only one she trusts to go to abortion clinic with is her brother. After this, their relationship deepens. Before this, they fought a lot because of his sister’s boyfriend whom she was in a toxic relationship with.
Charlie begins to experiment with addictive substances. One night he takes LSD and cannot control his flashbacks of Aunt Helen and ends up in the hospital.
One of Sam’s friends asks Charlie if he wants to go to Sadie Hawkins dance which to, he agrees. They start dating but the relationship ends. During a game of truth or dare when Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. He kisses Sam, and Mary Elizabeth runs away in tears. Patrick suggests to Charlie to stay away from Sam for a while.
Brad’s abusive father discovers Patrick and Brad’s relationship and sents him to „rehab“. When Brad returns, he refuses to speak to Patrick. Patrick tries to talk to Brad in the cafeteria but Brad makes a sarcastic comment about Patrick’s sexual orientation, and Brad’s football teammates beat up Patrick. Charlie successfully defends Patric and wins back the respect of his friends.
At the end of the school year, Charlie becomes anxious about all his senior friends moving away. When Sam is packing to leave for her summer pre-college program, she and Charlie begin to make out and start to have sexual contact, but Charlie suddenly gets extremely uncomfortable. The sexual contact brings up a repressed traumatic memory of his Aunt Helen molesting him as a child.
Charlie writes a final letter to his Friend (dated two months later) saying that his parents had found him naked in a catatonic state on the couch. They took him to a mental hospital, where Charlie realizes that Aunt Helen had sexually abused him, but that he had repressed these memories. Charlie forgives his Aunt Helen because he knows that his aunt also had a trauma caused by her abusive husband. The book ends with Charlie writing that he is planning to stop writing letters and to start fully enjoying his life.
This book is one of my favourites. I really enjoyed Charlie’s personality traits and I particularly loved Charlie’s development as a person. Although sometimes I was a bit sad about his decisions. Nice element added the incorporation of PTSD and its relevation at the end of the novel.