Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Pocket Books, 1999)
The first session of Book Talk for the academic year 2017-18 was organised by the students of second year English Honours at the BGR Campus Library on 29 June 2017. The book was chosen by II English Honours. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by American author Stephen Chbosky was in 1999 by Pocket Books and made into a film released in 2012. The novel is set in the 1990s and follows the experiences of the main character, Charlie, who writes introspective letters to an unknown recipient that detail his life as a high schooler. It is commonly believed that the recipient is meant to be the reader, an interpretation that allows readers to participate intimately with the protagonist’s reflections on the world around him.
The discussion was led by Dr Meghna and the student representatives from second year English Honours. The session commenced with a discussion of the three main characters in the book. After the character analyses, the session was open to all participants to share their views on the book. The discussion revolved around the themes of the book, its importance as a coming-of-age novel or ‘bildungsroman’ for adolescent readers, and the ways in which the epistolary nature of the novel contributes to how readers interpret the novel. There was also a general discussion on the impact of books on readers, other epistolary narratives, and the significance of books such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower for those who enjoy communing with books.