Thursday, October 2, 2008

Banned Book review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Banned Books Week, September 27 - October 4, celebrates books that have been challenged and censored over the years for their content. In honor of BBW I read Stephen Chbosky's novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of Charlie, the wallflower, and his insight into his own adolescence and the lives of the people around him. As the story progresses, Charlie is introduced to music, literature, and film which gives the reader a peek into the true unconventional nature of Charlie and his thoughts.

The book explores topics such as introversion, teenage sexuality, abuse, drug use, homosexuality, suicide, and the general awkwardness of being young. Music is an important part of the novel, particularly the song "Asleep" by The Smiths (which became a favorite of mine after I read this book for the first time when I was in high school).

There are also some fantastic quotes in this book. One of my favorites in particular is said by Charlie while he and his two best friends are driving around in the car:

"The feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials. And commercials. And a really bad song about love that had the word “baby” in it. And then more commercials. And finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.

Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.

“I feel infinite.”

And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way.”

-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, p.33

All in all, the entire book is amazing and unique. I think it really touches on the uncomfortable period of growing up. I would recommend this book to older teens.

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