Reading Response: 20 Better Questions #YALit

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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1. What character was your favorite? Why?

I loved Patrick because despite everything he went through during his senior year of high school he was still looking to the future instead of ending it.

2. What character did you dislike? Why?

Mary Elizabeth because she was a really crappy girlfriend and didn’t deserve a guy like Charlie.

3. Does anyone in this work remind you of anyone you know?

I had a friend similar to Mary Elizabeth. She always wanted you to agree with her opinion and she could talk about her opinion for hours.

4. Are you like any character in this work?

I am very much like Charlie. I was a wallflower growing up and sometimes still are.

5. If you could be any character in this work, who would you be?

I don’t really want to be any of the characters in the book, I’d rather be friends with the characters in the book.

6. What quality(ies) of which character strikes you  as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?

Some people at book club said they didn’t like Sam because she was wish-washy and led Charlie on but I liked Sam. She didn’t want Charlie liking her because she didn’t like him back and didn’t want to string him along. Her feelings changed at the end of the book but she was in love with Craig so I understand her friendship with Charlie.

7. Overall, what kind of a feeling did you have after reading a few paragraphs of this work?Midway? After finishing the work?

I felt connected and interested all throughout the book. At the end of the book I felt satisfied which is strange because most books leave me wanting more but not this one.

8. Do any incidents, ideas, or actions in this work remind you of your own life or something that happened to you? Explain.

I can relate to being friends with seniors. Most of my good friends in high school were seniors.

9. Do you like this piece of work? Why or why not?

I loved this book because I saw so much of Charlie in me. It was a nice mirror for a change.

10. Are there any parts of this work that were confusing to you? Which parts? Why do you think you got confused?

No, the only thing I wonder about is who Charlie was writing the letter to. He gives clues but nothing definite to figure out who it is.

11. Do you feel there is an opinion expressed by the author through this work? What is it? How do you know this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I think the opinion being expressed is that no one really knows who they are when they are a Freshman in high school. I hardly knew who I was when I was a Freshman in college! It takes time to figure out who are as a person and what values you want to take with you for the rest of your life.

12. Do you think the title of this work is appropriate? Is it significant? Explain. What do you think the title means?

I think it is very appropriate because that is what someone calls Charlie-a wallflower. There are certain perks to being a wallflower because people don’t really know you are there so you can learn a lot about people when they don’t care if you are listening.

13. Would you change the ending of this story in any way? Tell your ending.Why would you change it?

I wouldn’t change the ending because it felt complete. Charlie needed to write these letters to help him understand himself and he figured himself out by the end of the book. He was done writing the letters.

14.What kind of person do you feel the author is? What makes you feel this way?

I feel like the author understands wallflowers and introverts. We tend to observe the world rather than participate so I feel that the author had a handle on what that was like.

15. How did this work make you feel? Explain.

It made me feel that someone understood me enough to write a book about what’s it’s like to be me. I was very quiet and observant my freshman year of high school and I hung out with seniors. I didn’t do half the stuff Charlie did but I understand what is like to just watch people at a party. Sometimes its nice to watch rather than participate.

 

16.Do you share any of the feelings of the characters in this work? Explain.

I know what Sam felt when she told Charlie not to like her. I had this boy like me a lot in eighth grade but I was not ready for boys or a relationship (or whatever it’s called when two kids who know nothing about relationships get into a “relationship”). I told him that I just wanted to be friends and he did not take it well. He moved over the summer and thankfully the weirdness between us ended but I understand where Sam is coming from.

17. Sometimes works leave you with the feeling that there is more to tell. Did this work do this? What do you think might happen?

Nope. Charlie himself said he was done writing the letters and it felt like his journey of self-discovery was done as well. This book reminds me a lot of Speak in that they are both freshman in high school who are struggling with sexual abuse and trying to understand how not to define themselves by that abuse.

18. Would you like to read something else by this author? Why or why not?

I actually would not. There are some authors that I would read all their books but I am pretty content with this being the only one.

19. What do you feel is the most important word phrase, passage, or paragraph in this work? Explain why it is important.

I love the line “and in that moment we were infinite” because it tells me that despite all the shit these three kids were going through they were going to turn out all right in the end. High school is only four years of a very long life, hopefully, and to define yourself by your high school years is a very bad choice.

20. If you were an English teacher, would you want to share this work with your students?Why or why not?

I would love to share this book with my students. I would not read it out loud in class but I would recommend it to my students and give a book talk over it.

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7 thoughts on “Reading Response: 20 Better Questions #YALit

  1. I have to admire the ending of Wallflower. It’s sad, but you’re left with knowing that Charlie will be ok. I feel that having an ending with a devastating revelation while trying to offer an upswing was difficult to write, but Chbosky made it work.

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  2. I really wished I wouldn’t have missed this book club meeting. I love Perks. I would have stood up for Sam too, I liked her character. She is smart and seems like a real person. There are some lines in this book that are simply beautiful. I loved reading your reaction to this awesome book!

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  3. I really like your answers to these questions. I seem to be an outgoing person, but I thrive on my “introvert time” (as my husband and I call it). This is the first review/response that has really helped me understand what this book is about. Thanks for an interesting list of questions and explaining how it appeals to the wallflower in all of us!

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