The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I am writing this to you because you seem like the type of person who would enjoy a book like this, even if you are much older than Charlie, this book’s protagonist. The book is written as much to you as it is to me, though I suppose if you are the type of person who would sleep with that person at the party, you may feel as though this book is a misdirected letter, perhaps sent to the person who rented your P.O. box before you.
Regardless of your feelings about parties and sleeping with the people at them, Charlie is probably very much like you, only about ten or twenty years ago. Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower is like stepping back in time, like re-entering high school and having to deal with the politics and social awkwardness that you thought you left behind and would never have to re-experience.
I can see how Charlie might be this generation’s Holden Caulfield, but I don’t think he is quite there. First, Charlie is 14, and suffers from the typical problem of fictional teenagers — that is, his experiences read like those of someone much older, like someone in college. How many teenagers do you know who regularly attend the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Not many.
Charlie is definitely an homage to Holden, as shown through the discussions about his psychologist and the strange stream-of-consciousness style. For fans of The Catcher in the Rye, this is probably a book worth borrowing — but if you hated Holden, you probably won’t really like Charlie.
Still, I hope you’ll give this book a chance, if only because Charlie is clearly pouring out his heart on the page. After all, he’s writing to you — the least you can do is listen.