The Perks of Being a Reader

Last summer I read a book that made a difference in my life. I was sitting on a plane with my two best friends, Rachel and Alex. We were heading toward Disney World in Florida to celebrate our recent graduation from high school. About an hour into the flight, I saw Rachel pull a small green book out of her bag. The title of the book read, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The title of the book sounded familiar to me. I then remembered that my sister had recommended the book to me about two years earlier. Because I was not much of a reader, I ignored her recommendation.

200px-Perksofbeingwallflower1My friends and I arrived in Florida about two hours later. We unpacked, bought our Disney tickets, and immediately hit the amusement parks. By the end of the day, we were completely exhausted. I suggested to Alex and Rachel that we should just relax by watching some television, but they had different ideas. Alex pulled three large books out of her suit case and Rachel once again revealed the small green book.

“Are you guys seriously going to read on vacation?”, I said in a slightly annoyed tone. “Yes.”, they answered simultaneously. Alex and Rachel were about to dive into their books, when they realized that I had brought nothing to read. Rachel then took a book from Alex’s collection for herself and shoved “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” into my hands. “Just read it, I think you’ll like it.”, she said. The only options I had were to be extremely bored or read the book. I choose the book.

By page four, I was hooked. It was incredibly difficult to put the book down once I started. For the next three nights, I was actually excited to read. The aspect of the book that made it so irresistible was how it was written. For those of you who have never read “Perks of Being a Wallflower”, it is one of the most creativity formatted books I have ever read. The entire story is told through the incredibly detailed letters of a fourteen year old boy, Charlie.

Another aspect of the book that made it so intriguing, where how the characters were developed. It was wonderful to see characters through the eyes of one main character, instead of a narrator. It was also quiet interesting to see how Charlie characteristics unfolded throughout his own writing.

There is also a bit of mystery to this book. From the beginning, the reader knows that Charlie is an anxious person. We know that he has been in mental institutions a couple of time during his childhood. But we don’t know why. As we read through the book, we get closer and closer to the cause of Charlie’s unstable mind. Even though this book is fictional, I have never been more convinced that Charlie exists some where in this world.

This book made me want to become an active reader. Since finishing “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” last summer, I have read at least one book a month. My favorite kind of novels to read are those that are believable, but also have a twist ending. I especially enjoy the work of Chuck Palahniuk. I think that it is great that I can now enjoy stories through another medium beside television. I also have become a fan of book discussions. Every time I finish a new book, I try to find a friend or family member who has also read that book. It is fun to exchange our favorite parts of the book and also to argue what messages the author was trying to bring to the audience.

I think the reason that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” change my perspective on reading was because it was a realistic book. Everything that I had read before it seemed phony and unrelatable. But I can honestly say that I connected with this book on an emotional and intellectual level, and that has made all the difference.


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