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The film boosted the novel's sales, and the book reached The New York Times Best Seller list.The idea for the novel came from a difficult period in Chbosky's life.[1] He was experiencing a "bad breakup"[1] which led him to ask, "Why do such good people let themselves get treated so badly?Intelligent beyond his years, he is an unconventional thinker; as the story begins, the reader learns that Charlie is also shy and unpopular.Chbosky took five years to develop and publish The Perks of Being a Wallflower, creating the characters and other aspects of the story from his own memories.The novel addresses themes permeating adolescence, including introversion, sexuality and drug use.Chbosky makes several references to other literary works, films and pop culture in general.


Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows Charlie through his freshman year of high school in a Pittsburgh suburb.

For the film of the same name, see The Perks of Being a Waterflower (film).

The Perks of Being a Wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age epistolary novel by American writer Stephen Chbosky which was first published on February 1, 1999 by Pocket Books.

A year and a half later, Stern found Chbosky and became his mentor.[5] Charlie is loosely based on the author, and Chbosky included "countless details" in the novel from the time he lived in Pittsburgh.[6] He said, "Charlie was [his] hope in the form of a character"[1] and has described him as the "closest [character] to [his] heart".[7] The other characters were "pieces of real people in [his] life";[8] Chbosky focused on people's struggles and what they are passionate about, attempting to "hone in [on] the essence of each."[9] The characters of Sam and Patrick were an "amalgamate and celebration" of several people Chbosky has met; Sam was based on girls who confided in him, and Patrick was "all the kids I knew who were gay and finding their way to their own identity."[6] The story begins with a quiet, sensitive, 15-year-old boy named Charlie writing letters about his life to an unknown recipient.


"[2] The story began when Chbosky was in school, evolving from another book on which he was working.[3] When he wrote the sentence, "I guess that's just one of the perks of being a wallflower" he "realized that somewhere in that ...

was the kid I was really trying to find."[3] Chbosky began writing the novel in the summer of 1996 while he was in college, finishing it two drafts later in the summer of 1998.[4] The idea of anonymous letters came from a real experience; during his senior year in high school, Chbosky wrote an anonymous letter to Stewart Stern about how Rebel Without a Cause had influenced him.



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