The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Through a series of letters to an unknown receiver, we witness Charlie's adolescent life developing through his enrolment at high school, exploration of drugs, desire to make friendships and maintain relationships. As the title suggests, Charlie is a wallflower; he watches people go about their daily lives but is encouraged to "participate" by his favourite teacher who gives him classic books to read and comment on. His struggle to become involved and find his place and purpose in the world sometimes leads to unsettling episodes in the boy's life but lead me to read the book in a matter of hours.
Though simply written to fit the character's age and personality, some of the messages in Charlie's letters are beautiful and poignant. His slightly naive perspective on life's aspects and troubles were moving as well as eye-opening and ensured that this novel was more than a simple coming-of-age story.
Also the kid likes The Smiths, and that immediately makes him great.
Charlie's 'One Winter' playlist:
Asleep - The Smiths
Vapour Trail - Ride
Scarborough Faire - Simon & Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
Time of No Reply - Nick Drake
Dear Prudence - The Beatles
Gypsy - Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues
Daydream - Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk - Genesis
MLK - U2
Blackbird - The Beatles
Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
Asleep - The Smiths (again!)
"I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person"
"I guess what I'm saying is that this all feels very familiar. But it's not mine to be familiar about. I just know that another kid has felt this. This one time when it's peaceful outside, and you're seeing this move, and you don't want to and everyone is asleep. And all the books you've read have been read by other people. And all the songs you've loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that's pretty to you is pretty to other people. And you know that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing unity."
Thanks to this book, the following titles are now on my book list: This Side of Paradise, The Fountainhead, Walden, On The Road (well that was already there).