The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3 1/2 stars. I think I would have really enjoyed this book as a young teen. The voice of Charlie, the ninth grade narrator, is authentic and sweet. His self-awareness and naivete make for a truly endearing character. He is a "troubled" kid who is seeing a psychiatrist for some fairly ambiguous problems, a loner who finds friendship and acceptance in a small group of older teens. There were a lot of complex issues explored (domestic violence as it pertains to teens, sexual abuse, homosexuality, and suicide), but it didn't ever feel over-the-top.
With all that said, I didn't feel as attached to his friends, Patrick and Sam, as I wanted to be. I think I would have felt the intensity of his feelings if the entire triumvirate were more fully fleshed out. The other issue I found problematic was the epistolary device. The novel is told in a series of letters to an unidentified character. I kept waiting for the identity of the recipient to be revealed, and it just doesn't happen.