We accept the love we think we deserve.
"Sometimes, I look outside, and I think that a lot of other people have seen this snow before. Just like I think that a lot of other people have read those books before. And listened to those songs.
I wonder how they feel tonight."
"The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" is one of those books that I've been meaning to read for ages. One of those books that I've heard about and that people have told me I should read but that I've just never gotten round to picking up because there's always something else that catches my eye and in all honesty I doubted it would live up to the hype.
"The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" is one of those books that I really really wish I'd read sooner. I loved it. I read it wanting to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know. & I want to read it again.
I've read a lot of good books this year, I think I've said that before. I've read a lot of books that have made me think and that have stayed with me but this one, it's different. It's a couple of weeks now since I finished it and I still can't get it out of my head, I can't stop thinking about it; there are quotes, lines and passages that keep coming back to me and making me feel like a heavy weight has settled somewhere in the middle of my chest. It's a beautiful beautiful book: the characters are beautiful, the language is beautiful, the message is beautiful and I just...loved it.
In a nutshell, it's the story of a fifteen year old boy, Charlie. It follows him through a year in his life, through a series of letters he writes to an somebdoy whose identity is never revealed.
Charlie is all kinds of wonderful. He doesn't want to let go of his childhood but at the same time he wants to grow up; he's caught in that no-mans land that we all go through at some point, balancing on the cusp of adulthood and knowing that when you finally jump nothing will ever be the same again.
He's clever and compassionate and senstive and massively messed up and he has this unique way of expressing himself that at times made me wonder, particularly at the start of the book, whether he was autistic; whether at the very least he was suffering from a high-functioning form of Asperger's because he seemed like a very young, very naive 15 year old. I never was and have never met a 15 year old like Charlie, he is absolutely not your average teenage boy yet (and this is part of the magic) at the same time he really is.
We follow him through a world of suicide and bullying and first love and lost love and friendship and a depression that breaks your heart and as I read I fell in love with this slightly damaged kid a little bit, a lot, because despite the fact that Chobsky's narrative style and the way Charlie's peers react to him make him seem more like a kid of 12 at times, he also has this maturity that makes him seem older than his years, this outlook on life that's like a smack in the face sometimes.
There's no convuluted vocab, no over-complicated plot, no complex descriptions, it's all so so simple and the way Charlie's thoughts are juxtaposed against his actions; his ability to look so much deeper than what he first sees or hears alongside his struggle to fit in with the people he wants to call his friends, shows who he is so effectively.
I'm really not making any sense am I? This is probably the crappest most garbled review I ever wrote. I blame the lack of coffee in my life today for my inability to be coherent.
I think my point is, when I was doing that OU course the other year ago my tutor was very big on 'show don't tell.' It was like her mantra or something and she was right because to as a writer, a good writer, you have no tool more powerful than the ability to show and not tell.
'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is one of the best examples of showing and not telling that I have ever come across.
You know what else I keep thinking? I really really wish I'd read this book when I was fifteen. Not because my high school experience was like Charlie's, much, but because, I don't know because it made me feel things differently and it would have been good I think, to have felt these things back then.
Again with the no sense.
It's like....it's like I'm 28 and I'm about to read this book about a 15 year old American school boy and I'm thinking there's no way I'm going to be able to relate to this story and then I actually read it and Charlie makes all these observations and I find myself just knowing somehow exactly where he's at. It's like sitting down and having a talk with a friend that you didn't know you needed until you realised things seemed better and I just think it's one of those books that I love now but that would have made a difference back then & whilst it's hardcore: drama after drama after drama, angst following angst following angst, the tone of this novel is absolutely spot on. It never felt deep and heavy and depressing. It's so frigging beautiful too. There were so many parts of it that I just wanted to quote, that I wanted to read aloud, that I wanted everybody in the world to share.
& I am so tempted to just delete this entire post and come back another time when I am caffeinated and able to do it justice but I've written it now. Besides, there's always the chance that this is garbled and nonsensical because I am garbled and nonsensical and if that's the case then this might be the best I can do *shrug*
If you haven't already then go read this book and then get a teensy bit excited about the film (starring Emma Watson) because that's just what I did.
I'm going to put the kettle on......