A wallflower – someone who is present but not noticed. Someone who sees everyone and everything but who is not noticed by anyone. Someone who blends with the background and never stands out. Someone like me.
At least that’s what I thought when I first heard about this book. That was my first reaction that I too am a wallflower. Sitting quietly in a group listening to stories while never sharing my own stories.
A great book always has great characters. But I want to add that any loved book has relatable characters. And that’s so true for this book.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book for introverts like me. For introverts and anyone who has had any kind of mental health issues. You can find characters you can actually relate with. The issues that are mentioned in this book are not just for the young adult crowd it is aimed at. It is relevant for anyone who is struggling in any way.
Each of the characters shows different ways of coping with their own personal issues. And it helps to remind us that there is no right or wrong way to live your life. We are all doing it for the first time and we are all doing our best. We may goof up and make a mess of things from time to time. But guess what – that’s all right. That’s the only thing that’s real. Mistakes and pain and not knowing what’s going to happen with absolute certainty.
This book showed me various types of mental health issues. And I read this book at a time when I was still learning how to describe everything I was feeling every single day. Words like depression and anxiety were still new and unknown to me. Mental health is not something I knew a lot about. Mental health is not something that is discussed as easily as headaches or stomachaches.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was probably the first book that talked about mental health issues so freely and so easily. At no point in the book, you would feel like a grim topic is being discussed. At no point, you would feel judged or out of place for feeling anything that you might be feeling.
Rather you might find a friend or two amongst the characters who might help you in your own journey while they take you on their journey. Sometimes it is just enough to know that we are not alone in feeling something. It is enough to know that what I may be feeling is nothing weird. It is common enough for an author to imagine and write about in his book.
Coming to coping mechanisms. The characters are all young and foolish at times. You might not agree with what they might be doing at times. Rather it is imperative that one must not take too much inspiration from the fictional characters and try their coping mechanisms.
Thing is, when we are growing up, we were taught so many things. A lot of focus was there to improve our intelligence and academic abilities. We were told to have a bold and outgoing personality. We were taught to get over things and not to really understand our own emotions and why we may be feeling those. We were never really taught to work on our emotional quotient.
When I read this book I realized that’s what is happening to these characters. They are young and naive and confused and while they get some help (more than what we usually got), they are still clueless. And when these adolescents grow up they will make similar clueless adults. And believe me, I have seen so many such adults.
This book won’t tell you how to cope with your issues. This book will just show you how different people cope with various types of mental health issues. This book will give you hope. This book will make you feel a little less alone in your struggle.
I would recommend reading this book. You might watch the movie but you will miss many things. When it comes to emotions and thoughts running in someone’s mind, it’s better to read a book than to watch a movie. It is really difficult to show what’s going on inside someone’s head in a movie no matter how good the actors maybe. But once you have read the book, then do go and watch the movie. It will enhance your experience.
P.S – This book has some really cool quotes. Check them out below –