From Our Editors
Junior Booklovers Contest Winner Megan, age 15,
Charlie is a wallflower. He's the boy who quietly observes life
and the people around him without anyone noticing. Charlie is the
main character in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, a poignant novel
about discovering yourself and dealing with the struggles of
growing up. Charlie is very shy and painfully passive. Ever since
his best friend committed suicide in the eighth grade he hasn't had
any real friends. Then he meets Patrick and Samantha, a brother and
sister who are seniors at Charlie's high school. The three become
best friends and Patrick and Sam introduce Charlie to a teenager's
world of music, drugs, first crushes and the Rocky Horror Picture
Charlie's truthful narrative throughout the book is full of
emotion and his quirky observations. His clever explanations of his
life at home and at school will make you laugh or bring tears to
your eyes. The words are simple, yet his story is extremely
powerful and heart wrenching. The story is told through letters
written by Charlie and addressed to an unidentified friend, which
makes it seem like he's writing the letters to the reader. You get
an intimate look at the struggles of a vulnerable young boy feeling
the pain of growing up, but enjoying those rare moments when a
simple radio song is all it takes to make you feel infinite.
From the Publisher
Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique
perspective…but there comes a time to see what it looks like from
the dance floor.
Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky's haunting debut novel
has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate,
grown into a cult phenomenon with over two million copies in print,
spent over six months at #1 on the New York Times
bestseller list, and inspired a major motion picture.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what
it's like to travel that strange course through the uncharted
territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas,
and new friends. Of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture
Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as
About the Author
grew up in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern
California''s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four
Corners of Nowhere,
premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film
Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the
Chicago Underground Film Festival. He is the recipient of the
Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay
as well as a participant in the Sundance
Institute''s filmmakers'' lab for his current project,
Fingernails and Smooth Skin.
Chbosky lives in New York.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is his
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By Stephen Chbosky
1. Why do you think Charlie wants to remain anonymous? Have
there been times when you wish you could have, or did?
2. Would you be friends with Charlie? Why or why not?
3. What do we learn about Michael? Do you sympathize with
4. What do you think about Susan''s relationship with her
boyfriend? When Charlie tells Bill, did you think Bill would call
his parents? Do you think that was the right thing to do? What do
you think of her parent''s reaction?
5. Discuss Charlie''s reaction to his brother and sister
throwing a party. What did you think about the couple in his room?
What about Charlie''s response?
6. What do you think being a wallflower is? Do you agree with
7. How do you feel about Patrick and Brad''s relationship? Do
you think Patrick is understanding of Brad''s feelings? What chance
at a relationship do they have? Do you think that you can have a
''true'' relationship built on secrets?
8. Charlie mentions that his dad "had glory days once." What do
you think Charlie''s glory days will be? Do you think he is worried
about not having any?
9. Discuss Charlie''s family holidays. Are there elements that
are universal to every family dynamic? Has anything about
Charlie''s family surprised you? Describe aunt Helen. What kind of
person is she?
10. Talk about the mixed tapes in the story. Are you familiar
with the songs and bands? Why do you think Charlie speaks about
them so often?
11. Do you like that the story is told through letters? Do you
feel you know the kind of person Charlie is? His friends and
12. Several important issues come up during the course of the
book, ranging from molestation to drug use. How does Charlie deal
with these? How have the issues affected his friends and
13. Charlie has a few breakdowns. Do you feel hopeful for him?
How much of his past explains his present?
14. Charlie''s friends are moving away at the end of the story.
Where does this leave Charlie? Can he make new friends?
15. Bill is very supportive of Charlie. How does this affect