Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Friend, I Just Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Dear Friend,

I just finished reading a book called "The Perks of Being aWallflower". It is about a boy who is 15 in 1992, but it was written by an adult man in 1999. The book is written in the form of letters from the boy to a friend. The boy's name is Charlie. I don't know what his friend's name is. I don't even know if the friend really exists because we never see any replies to Charlie's letters. I think the letters may be a writing exercise, but I'm not sure.

The boy is very sad. He tells you he's sad a lot, and it seems like everything that happens makes him sad. The boy doesn't have many emotions, come to think of it. He only tells you when he's sad. He never uses other words to describe how he feels, like "distraught" or "devastated". When he does use fancy words, he puts them in quotation marks. I guess he wants to show that he doesn't really know what those words mean because he only read them in a book or heard them in English class. There was no internet in 1992 where he could have looked them up. Dictionaries also were not invented yet.

Beside being sad, Charlie has a very exciting life and has some very good friends. His friends are Patrick, Sam, who is a girl, and Mary Elizabeth. Patrick is gay and he is dating the quarterback of the football team. They have had sex. Charlie is in love with Sam, but she is dating Craig. Mary Elizabeth really likes Charlie, but Charlie doesn't like Mary Elizabeth as much. They all participate in the Rocky Horror Picture Show floor show, which is unusual for teenagers in 1992.

Charlie has listened to Nirvana's new album and he even put a song from it on a mix tape that he gives Patrick. Patrick tells him that the mix tape is very sad. That's how you know that there is something wrong with Charlie. Charlie also tells you that there's something wrong with him because he is not "normal". Charlie writes everything in a very "monotonic" voice. This may be because the grownup who wrote the book thinks that this is the way teenage boys write.

This book reminded me a lot of Go Ask Alice, which was also written by a grownup pretending to be a teenager. In Go Ask Alice, the author pretends that the teenager is writing in a diary. The author does not do a good job, though, and you can tell that the teenager isn't a real teenager. The author who wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower (his name is Stephen Chbosky) also does not do a very good job at writing like a teenager. The author puts in too many details in some cases, and not enough in others. Sometimes it sounds like you are reading a regular book and not letters. This would have been OK if the book did not feel "like an afterschool special". Too many bad things happen to Charlie for it to be believable, I think.

I am also not sure if Charlie is autistic. Charlie has very deep insight into many things, but can't figure out the people around him. Charlie does not get excited about anything, not even sex!

Charlie has an aunt that died. She was very nice to him. Charlie feels guilty about her death because she died in a car crash getting his Christmas present. Then Charlie finds out something very sad about his aunt. This is very important.  I can't tell you more about this because that would ruin the ending.

I do not think I really liked this book. I think The Catcher in the Rye was better. The Catcher in the Rye was also written by an adult about a teenager who is not normal. That teenager, Holden Caulfield, is telling his story. It is a good book and Holden Caulfield seems like more of a real teenager, even though he lived a long time ago when there wasn't even any TV.

That is all for now. I think Stephen Chbosky thought he was very clever.

Bye for now

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