A New Classic?


Kaitlyn Wildoner, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, was published in 1999 and was turned into a film in 2012. The main character, Charlie, is starting high school while struggling with the death of his best friend and his aunt. He feels a mix of depression, anger, guilt, and confusion throughout the entire book. It captures Charlie’s genuine thoughts and feelings. The entire book is a series of letters narrating Charlie’s life that he writes to an unknown friend. He meets new friends, writes some essays, and battles his mental world along with his real one. 

What makes this book so magnificent is the fact that it doesn’t shy away from mental problems in teenagers. It shows the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the characters. So many TV shows, movies, and books only portray teens as materialistic and angsty, complaining about things like boys and makeup. They give us a warped vision of what a “normal teenager” looks like. In reality, we all have issues that we hide from others to appear put together and normal. This book didn’t hide anything just because it was uncomfortable or “weird.” Every teen should read this book because we’re all struggling, no matter our circumstances. Each character in this story struggles with different things. They range from rape to struggling with your sexuality, to simply just not knowing where you belong in this world. It’s unlike any other story and should be one of the classics that we tell our children about when they reach a certain age. It helps you understand something completely outside of yourself. The book contains many prevalent issues that reflect the ones we go through today. Even though this book is centered around teenagers, it’s relatable for every age group. It normalizes the pain of mental illness and shows the growth you can have from it too.

On page three, Charlie says, “And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” This quote puts the common feelings of people into one simple sentence. Sometimes we aren’t sure how we feel, and it can be confusing until someone puts it into words.  

MCHS Sophomore, Sydnee Bell, says, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower really helps people understand those with depression if they’ve never been through it. Or it can just help you relate.” She explained that this book helped her feel less alone and brought her feelings to light. She would recommend it to anyone and described it as “one of the most impactful stories today.”