First Lines: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Steven Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower was another one of those books that somehow didn’t make the cut for my list of 40 books to read before my 40th birthday.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was, if I recall correctly, one of only two movies I saw in a theater last year. Hailed by some as the “The Breakfast Club of a new generation,” it managed to push a lot of my buttons in precisely the right order.

So, lists be damned, I read the book as well.

Like the movie, the book is funny, and smart, and all those those things I usually rattle of in lists about these kinds of books and films. I can’t help it—and frankly, I don’t give a damn—but those stories where the socially awkward kid, the misfit or the underdog eventually crawls out of his shell, wakes up and smells the coffee, they appeal to me on a level I probably don’t even want to analyse too much. Because, well, you know.

There’s this scene where Charlie, the book’s narrator, drives with his friends through this tunnel. In the book, it goes like this:

Anyway, Patrick started driving really fast, and just before we got to the tunnel, Sam stood up, and the wind turned her dress into ocean waves. When we hit the tunnel, all the sound got scooped up into a vacuum, and it was replaced by a song on the tape player. A beautiful song called “Landslide.” When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was. Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

In the movie, it’s like this:

I get that. A lot.

Steven Chbosky — The Perks of Being a Wallflower
First Lines
August 25, 1991. Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you would listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.