A while ago I decided to reread some of the books I’d already read, in particular those very popular ones everyone loves but that didn’t work their charm on me.
The first time I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower was exactly this time two years ago. Just graduated from high school and on summer break, I wasn’t too sure what to do with myself and where I was heading. The slow realisation that the things I wished to do would have to be put on hold definitely dampened my spirits, and that’s also the state I read the book in.
Back then, I did not particularly like the book: it’s not that I hated it, I simply didn’t understand the hype surrounding it, which happens to me a lot with YA literature (The Fault in our Stars, everyone). Despite the fact that I could even relate to Charlie in some regards, I failed to see what others felt when reading this book. This time round, though, I loved it and can’t find nor remember what bothered me in the first place.
Reading the book now that I’m out of high school felt almost nostalgic; of course, it features many serious and difficult subjects/issues which not every teenager necessarily experiences, but it still captures the essence of growing up enough for anyone to relate to it. Especially the parts in which characters are getting excited about going away to college where everything will be great was sort of “bitter-sweet” for me as I can well recall the times I’ve said that back when I was still in school (surprise: it didn’t really turn out that way…but that’s okay).
One really important lesson one can take away from the book to me is that one’s own pain is always “valid” regardless of whether other people have it worse than oneself. I think sometimes we can forget that no matter how petty our insecurities or silly our worries, they are still the exact same things that keep us up at night or make us feel bad about ourselves.
What also resonated with me a lot was the focus put on “participating in life” as it’s called in the book. Charlie, the title wallflower and outsider, is struggling to connect and interact with others and is continuously told by others to take part in life. As I’ve written here several times, this is something I tend to have difficulties with, as well, and while there are many books that adress this Perks might be the most on point.
So, to wrap up, I absolutely benefitted from giving a book I’d already written off another chance and so might you!