Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Chbosky, Stephen (Author)
Simon & Schuster 1999. 216 pages
First published: 1999
ISBN: 9780671027346 (paperback)
9781451696202 (hardcover)
9781439122433 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, point of view, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This fascinating story is structured as a series of letters written to an unidentified classmate who 16-year-old Charlie trusts, “because she said that you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.”

Dense language conveys Charlie’s perspective with verve: “my older brother came to Mr. Vaughn’s office in my middle school and told me to stop crying … asked me if I wanted to help him work on his Camaro. I guess I was pretty messy because he never let me work on his Camaro before.”

Charlie’s heightened responses and aggressive tendencies are balanced by his perceptive and loving nature. Over freshman year, he enjoys intimate friendships, witnesses a painful love affair between two boys, tries drinking and drugs, and develops a relationship with literature.

The rendering of family life is equally rich. His parents’ backgrounds include violence and sexual abuse. These shadows are cast over his cousins—and Charlie himself—as shown by triggered memories.

Yet the story remains wholly engaging and uplifting. The book’s underlying message pulses like a heartbeat from each of Charlie’s missives, with their ubiquitous sign off, “Love always…”

  •  

    The epistolary novel, here a series of letters written to an unknown character, affords the reader a singular view of Charlie’s world and his growth as a young adult.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss how Charlie is revealed to the reader through his letters.

  •  

    Include this realistic YA novel in a set that considers identity construction. It is also useful as a mentor text for written productions (fictional diaries or other epistolary writing) that focuses on author’s craft and meaning.

  •  

    Speculate as to why the author had the main character write letters to tell his story.

  •  How would you describe the main character? What kind of friend is he? Elaborate on this in the form of a letter from Patrick’s or Sam’s point of view.
  •  

    Compare the various friendships in this novel to those described in other novels you’ve read. Make connections to your own life. What did you learn about friendship? Explain.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development