The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A High Schooler’s Guide to Surviving Adolescence

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Throughout the ages, high school and adolescence has been viewed by many as the low point of one’s life: it is a time when people are struggling with their identities and are trying to figure out where they fit in the world. Although technology and society have evolved over the time and have affected the high school experience greatly, these timeless qualities still remain characteristic of this age. To me, that is the most powerful and interesting aspect of Stephen Chbolsky’s story The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Despite being written in the 1990s, Charlie’s musings about love, life, and friendship can trigger some form of emotion in essentially anyone. Moreover, the story’s poignancy is further enhanced by the fact that, regardless of your individual popularity, everyone can feel some sort of connection to Charlie due to the intimacy of his letters. Intertwining the playfulness of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with the brutal honesty of Catcher in the Rye and the sense of newfound understanding of Spring Awakening, Charlie’s humorous, sorrowful, embarrassing, naïve, and above all, honest reflections of what transpires around him create this timeless account of the complex adolescent emotions. Additionally, the story instills some hope in readers, as they are able to witness Charlie’s transformation from an awkward, innocent freshman to someone who finds his place with a group of friends and learns a lot about the world along the way. Regardless of your individual emotions towards high school, popularity status or personality type, there is probably a theme or character that you will be able to identify with in Perks of Being a Wallflower, and you might also gain an understanding for what others are going through too.

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