Thursday, November 30, 2006

What I'm Reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower didn't impress me at first, as it seemed just another coming of age book, in the vein of Catcher in the Rye, starring the type of protaganist who combines the qualities I find most annoying: cloyingly callow and good (much like John Irving's Owen Meany), hopelessly in love with a girl who, it would seem, won't return his affections, and maddeningly passive.

But this novel has a way of sucking you in, and I found myself enjoying Charlie's tumultuous journey through a year in high school, narrated in a series of letters Charlie writes to an anonymous recipient he barely knows. Author Stephen Chbosky has a warm, unaffected style, and almost anyone can identify with the sensitive Charlie and the archetypical cliques of teenagers with whom he interacts; in particular his friends, who would fit into the "freak", "goth", "alternative", or "artsy" category recognizable in any high school. And most of the annoyances I found in Charlie's character are vindicated in the epilogue's surprising revelation; this I think made the novel especially memorable.

I feel this book probably would have resonated with me more had I read it at a younger age. Nonetheless, I would recommend it unhesitatingly to anyone as a sweetly inspiring look at human nature and adolescence.

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