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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Read this review on Smash Attack Reads: http://www.smashattackreads.com/2012/05/smash-reviews-the-immortal-rules-2/Smashtastic Entertainment Quickie:A very raw, poignant tale of a young man's journey towards adulthood, all the while maneuvering the good, bad and ugly that life throws his way.Interest in the book: I was bullied into reading this book by Adam, and I am so happy that I finally caved. He did gift me the book, after all. I obviously don't read these types of books often, but I do occasionally pick them up because I feel it is my duty to read these types of stories in my line of work. It helps me understand and connect to my clients, who are often the very people I find between the pages.World-building: Obviously, the world-building is not like that of fantasy and paranormal reads. This book is set in a very real city, follows a very real family, and highlights the trials and tribulations of a very real adolescent boy. That being said, the true world-building happens inside of Charlie. Through his eyes, we are presented with the highs and lows of an awkward teen boy trying to find his way. The author delivered the story via letters from Charlie. We are never sure who "Dear friend" is, though Charlies explains that this person is "trustworthy" someone who Charlie heard about via a mutual friend. I can only assume, however, that the letters are addressed to the reader. Charlie is bearing his heart and soul to us, hoping to find peace and understanding in the mere cathartic process of writing down his thoughts and feelings.Characters: Meet Charlie. And yes, this is Charlie. The movie is being released 9/21/12 and was written and directed by the author. If there is any movie that should live up to its written counterpart, this will surely be it.Logan Lerman, especially in this picture, is exactly how I picture Charlie. Awkward, naive, observant, timid, but there is much more to Charlie that meets the eye. He is intelligent, brought to his attention by his English teacher who assigns him extra reading and writing assignments to nurture and expand his intellect. Many readers have discussed the possibility that Charlie has a pervasive developmental disorder like Asperger syndrome, and it is certainly plausible. However, I suspected a different issue from the start. Charlie's tragic experiences, inadequate coping skills and limited life "participation" present him with a struggle that he is ill-equipped to handle. Regardless of these factors, Charlie heals and morphs and surprises us all. The author smacks you with an epilogue that will make your head spin, however, I was so impressed with Charlie's perseverance, fortitude and positive outlook in the midst of it all.Ginger at GReads really sums Charlie up quite nicely:Charlie surprised me with his words of wisdom, he took my breath away by his innocence, and he mesmerized me by his strength.  He really was infinite.There are other characters, like his family members, and Patrick and Sam, siblings that take Charlie under their wing and provide him with friendship, candor and kindness. Sam is Charlie's love interest, but I will leave that part of the story for you to discover.Lasting Impressions: The author highlights many, many different struggles that every-day people face: anxiety, teen pregnancy, abortion, relationship violence, sexual abuse, discrimination, drugs, suicide, grief, guilt, death, depression. It is an endless list of issues that no one wants to discuss but affects us all in one way or another. Viewing these social problems and mental health issues through Charlie's eyes was incredible and really reminded me of why I love working with children and adolescents. They can heal if provided a safe, non-judgmental environment in which to do so.And on that note, I leave you with this: Charlie shows us that life is always a box of chocolates, and it is up to us to decide if we allow that unsuspecting chewy center to yank out a tooth or instead, battle the sticky surprise.Favorite Quotes:So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.“It's just that I don't want to be somebody's crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don't want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”"I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.”