Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Perks of Being a Wallflower-- Stephen Chbosky

Rarely, maybe even just once or twice in a lifetime, you read a book and it changes your life. This was one of those books for me. When I was in college, a dear friend, now sister-in-law, told me I needed to read this book. At this stage of my life, I was knee deep in Bronte, Whitman, and Shakespeare and had never really read any current YA literature. I began reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower just after dinner and finished the book in the wee hours of the morning... because I just couldn't put it down.

In this book you meet Charlie, a character who will never really leave you. You read his letters, though you are not quite sure to whom exactly he is writing. As the story progresses, Charlie tries to transform himself from being a transparent, vanilla, passive wallflower. He befriends older kids who are the Rocky Horror, beer drinking, Smiths loving types. He experiments. He makes mix tapes. He BECOMES. Instead of hiding from his life, he starts living it with the gusto and recklessness of youth that simultaneously breaks your heart and makes you nostalgic for those times of your own life. Music, especially one song "Asleep" by The Smiths, is central to this book. Here is a list of songs that are featured in this book (thank you wikepedia!): If you have never heard "Asleep" then you must must must listen to it. Trust me on this one.

Asleep- The Smiths
Vapour Trail- Ride
Scarborough Fair- Simon and Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale- Procol Harum
Time of No Reply- Nick Drake
Dear Prudence- The Beatles
Gypsy- Susan Vega
Nights in White Satin- The Moody Blues
Daydream- The Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk- Genesis
Blackbird- The Beatles
Landslide- Fleetwood Mac
Smells Like Teen Sprit- Nirvana
Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II- Pink Floyd
Something- The Beatles

Now, dontcha want to go and make a mix tape? Oh, and how did this book changed my life? Well, after I read this book I started reading YA books obsessively... like 10-12 books a week... like if you could go to rehab for reading-addiction, I would have been there. And now, 6 years later, I am a YA Librarian (go figure). Thanks, Ingrid.

1 comment:

smurfanator said...

i just wanted to say that i know what you mean about a book affecting your life. when i was reading this book i was going through a time in my life where i felt like i didnt deserve anything i had. i had straight A's in a class and thought that isnt good enough. then i felt bad because i felt selfish i mean at least i had the chance to get an education unlike many kids. then id think of things i had like a home food great family and think i dont seserve it any of it. id think that there are people that dont have near the things that i have and are happy unlike me. id feel bad and ashamed of what i had. i dont even know why. then i read this book and the last paragragh on page 211 changed how i thought about things. "i think thatif i ever have kids and they are upset i wont tell them that people are starving in china or anything like that because it wouldnt change the fact that they were upset. and even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesnt really change the fact that you have what you have." funny that it took a complete stranger to write a book about a boy writing letters to someone he never met about his life for me to realize it. im still glad that i did though. i think i still might think like that sometimes but i might not feel so bad because ill know that me feeling bad about it doesnt help or chage the fact at all. and i want to thank you. im glad im not the only one who read an was affected by this book. so thanks for making me feel like i wasnt alone in something that seemed a little different than what im used to. - anonomous google fread :]