Being Found

As I reflect on The Perks of Being a Wallflower I realize that although the epistolary format is somewhat unique, and the chronicling of a teenager’s struggles is intriguing, the most captivating aspect of the novel for me is the evolution of the character of Charlie. The mystery of his past is revealed at the end of the novel and ultimately changes one’s perspective on the entire story. Charlie is the prototypical lost, insecure teenager, one with a painful past. He has lost a best friend to depression, a close aunt to a car crash, and, along the way, himself. He becomes a character adrift in his own life – adrift until he finds his soul mates in other “wallflowers”, (a term coined by the book to essentially mean someone who sees and understands). It might be argued that without the epistolary format the reader cannot truly empathize with Charlie. Though I agree that this device allows the reader to become a wallflower him/herself, I feel that the true value in this story derives from the strength and constancy that Charlie develops as a person living in a seemingly chaotic and capricious world. Life is not about giving up in times of adversity, but rather it is about finding ones place in the midst of it all.

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