I’ve been rereading The Perks of Being a Wallflower for this months book club (Thursday 30th May – come along if you wish!) and I’ve been really enjoying reading it for the third time. It’s different reading it now compared to when I first read it in my teens and then later at maybe 20. I’m now 24 and I still really appreciate it a lot. Rereading books years later can sometimes be a slight worry as I don’t want to end up disliking it which can happen. Obviously our tastes change and that’s a normal part of life but when it’s one of your favourites that means a lot to you, it’s quite gutting when it doesn’t live up to what you remembered it to be!
One thing I’ve always loved about Perks is the style of writing. It is so specific and completely fleshes out Charlie as a character. We get the sense of who he is and how he thinks fairly quickly whilst also still questioning how he feels and certain things he won’t give away easily.
I love that it is written in the form of letters to a person we don’t know the identity of. I’ve always found that quite fascinating as he often references why he’s telling that person what he is yet has never met them and doesn’t know them.
I’m unsure if this is because of book club or just my heightened awareness of LGBTQ+ themes now as opposed to when I was younger but I’ve really noticed how much this is spoken about within the book. Charlie makes a few comments about Patrick being gay and states that he went and researched what gay was after Patrick told him. Charlie is really nonplussed by the fact and never seems to have any prejudice towards anyone. We will talk about this more in our book club post I’m sure but it is interesting how much I have noticed these themes now.
There are some very difficult themes in the book including mental health issues, abuse and, though not explicitly mentioned, I would argue, PTSD. Whilst I’m sure some people would find this book very triggering, I’m okay with the themes.
Some of the mental health problems Charlie deals with resonate with me and it does make me sad for a little as I read but I’m okay the majority of the time. I think because I held this book so close to me for so long, and still do, I can deal with it absolutely fine. For me, that makes sense!
I really do hold a place in my heart for this book. The characters feel so familiar I find it easy to jump back in and I always feel quite comforted by it.
Have you read Perks before? What do you think of it?