Review of book 'The Perks of being a Wallflower'

By: Biplab Bastola
2017-Dec-19

A question haunted me after I was done with the book ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.’ Why do we read stories?

May be, our reality is not strong enough to entice us. May be, we have dreams…bottled up inside our head that we want to explore. May be, we want to experience many alternate lives. May be, may be, may be.

The book starts with a letter. Written to whom? Does not matter. It’s all about Charlie who pens the letters. The first thing that I really wished after I was done with the letters is that if Charlie were real. This is the worst thing one can feel. To expect something imaginary to be real. It’s like I could just call him and although he has changed the names of the characters that he comes across in the book, I would know them, I would know about their lives and most importantly, about Charlie.

There is this moment in which Charlie, Sam and Patrick are driving through a tunnel. Sam stands up in the car, let the breeze beat against her face and body when she is doing Titanic-pose. There is no particular specialty about the moment. It’s all ordinary. But, something gets you. The phrase “We felt infinite” gets you. You understand and process all those insignificant moments when you felt special. It connects with you. Well, whole book’s story is kinda like that.

Charlie drags his life through life school. He is kind of misfit. The letters Charlie write cover those times. The times when you are very impressionable. The times when almost anything impresses you and you wanna be that. This and that. Be friends with this and that. It gets on your nerves sometimes. Charlie happens to be in relationship with this girl called Mary Elizabeth who shows a different world to him. Initially, he is kind of engrossed which is followed by disdain which he cannot express to her. She is kind of anti-mainstream…umm…let’s not say that…she thinks she belongs to elite few or something like that. She is really into artsy things. I loved one of the phrases she said something like a good piece of art makes you feel different after you are done with it. I agree.

Many a times, I was quite jealous about the moments he lived, the friends he had around and many other things. Despite feeling jealous, I have lived some of the moments through his letters and have resolved quite a few things in my heart.

 

The most important thing is that it is okay to feel anything. You know, we are not what we are. I had thought about this some time back but had dropped the idea of resolving. The childhood I went through, the society I was born in, people who had bullied me, people who had loved me and have been doing that no matter who I am and so so many things that are going to revolve around my life. It all made sense.


Sometime back, I came across this quote in a page which stated something like we never love other persons. We just love the illusions, alter egos and ourselves that they carry. I found it to be utterly true. Sometimes, there are some voids in our lives which we are trying to fill with several things. It just does not fit in. I think that when a thing fits in there we kind of get into this dogma thinking that that ‘thing’ is destined to be in our lives. That’s where we fail.


We are similar in many ways. I think a place where we are so similar is that we always keep others’ lives beforehand everything else. We are behind sometimes and ready to destroy ourselves unbeknownst to the person thinking it might protect him. Why? Maybe, because, we value relationships. The warmth of relationship is something we crave a lot. Maybe, we are kind of afraid to let go of them. We secretly think we do not deserve them. Maybe yes, maybe no. We need to stop thinking about these things. Maybe we are going to be utterly alone, like on an island, trying to figure out things. But, we will have become happy thinking we were there where we could be, we did what we could do best, and we were ourselves.

Well, Charlie has become one of the closest friends in this long list of friends. I can come to you anytime by opening the book and flipping through the pages. I can, then, FEEL INFINITE LIKE YOU FELT, have somebody like Sam in my life (and experience that thing with her), those petty fights with a sister I never had and still love her to the bones and just exist. Love life. Despite all this chaos and all.




Author: Biplab Bastola

Address: Jorpati, Kathmandu

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