Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Book #66

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

This is the book that started it all up in Wisconsin, which has led me to my current project of reading banned books. Published in 1999 it has been on the ALA’s top ten protested books every year since. So I figured it had to be pretty good given that track record.

The book consists of a series of letters written by 15 year old Charlie; a quiet, introspective, bookish boy who finds more pleasure observing life than participating in it. The letters detail his freshman year of high school, discussing his friends and their lives. Ultimately through a series of events that bring him out of his shell he is finally able to confront his past and the tragedy he has repressed. It is a book about being lost, the role of friendship, and the redemptive power of being found.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in those issues. It is a messy book in the sense the life he presents is not pretty, but honestly life can be really messy sometimes. As for my kids I would say 16 is a good age to understand the underlying message of the book.

Why is it a banned book? This one is easy; now remember that all of the following involves teenagers. So when I say abuse I mean teenage abuse, etc. The book contains in no particular order: Suicide, Drug Use, Rape, Homosexual Sex, Pedophilia, Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Alcohol Use, Drunk Driving, Fighting, Partner Abuse (i.e. hitting girlfriend), and a mention of bestiality. Now that looks like a really long list but most of these things are only mentioned in passing (like the last one involved one line wherein one character says to another, you remember that one kid who got drunk at a party and tried to get it on with the dog). The book is quite powerful and nothing is mentioned just for shock value; everything seems quite pertinent to the plot.

Mormon Mentions: None!

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