I recently had the pleasure of reading this book. A very touching but sad story of a teenager named Charlie. About a third of the way through this book, Charlie is called a “wallflower” by one of his friends. A “Wallflower” is someone who is usually shy (but not always) and generally hangs out in the background, they usually are people who are great observers and probably notice things that others don’t. In this story, Charlie is not necessarily a shy person, but he definitely has issues when it comes to (as the book puts it) “participating” in life. He rarely engages and usually only engages when he has to or he feels safe to.
One of the things that gets me about this book is how much Charlie reminds me of myself when I was his age. I would imagine that it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that in many ways most teenagers have tendencies to be a wallflower from time to time.
Another reason this book is so impactful is it gets you thinking. The book is a collection of letter that Charlie writes someone, he writes them to sort out his thoughts so this can easily be seen as a journal that he writes. And the thing about journals is we see how and what we think when things happen to us in out lives. For me, this originally struck me a sad book because so much doesn’t go his way, but it gets me thinking- there are a lot of stuff that doesn’t go our way in our life, but do we see our life as sad? Sometimes, but most of the time we try and handle it in the best way we think we know how and (like how Charlie is in most of the book) we are generally content with life.
I came away with two things.
1.) “So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them.” We are who we are and we need to find people who will accept us for it. It’s cliche and something we shove down the throats of teenagers, but we need to be ourselves and if we’re not, we aren’t going to be happy.
2.) Engage in life. Too many people wait for life to happen for them. They wait for something amazing to come to them instead of going after the amazing. Instead of chasing their dreams, they remain their dreams. We let so many things in our life pass us by and while some of us don’t have personality of a wallflower, by our actions we become wallflowers.
UPDATE: Just for the record, I highly recommend this. Read it, you’ll love it.