Episode 55: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

With the help of a cult fan base and a 2012 movie adaptation, Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 epistolary novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower has become a beloved piece of YA history for people of all ages. Chbosky’s beautiful writing has made the book iconic, and the way he presents sensitive subjects (sexual abuse, abortion, dating violence, suicide, drug abuse, and more) to teen audiences has made Perks a valuable lifeline for readers braving their own traumas. In Episode 55, Alli and guest Caitlin Flynn discuss the universal nature of Charlie’s story, chat about the nuances of high school social groups, consider how many heavy topics are too many heavy topics for one book, and dig deep into what The Perks of Being a Wallflower has to say about trauma, coping, and personal growth.

Caitlin Flynn is a freelance journalist who covers travel, politics, culture, and health through a feminist lens. Follow her on Twitter (@caitrose609) and Instagram (@thecaitlinflynn) and learn more about her work on her website.


The Gifted School: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Long Bright River: A Novel by Liz Moore

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales


“How Books Help Charlie’s Mental Health in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)” (Tolstoy Therapy, 2013)

“A Wallflower’s Lasting Impact” (CNN, 2012)

Perks of Being a Wallflower Banned After Parent Complains” (American Booksellers Association BTW, 2015)

“How The Perks of Being a Wallflower Restored My Faith In Infinity Without God” (Bustle, 2016)

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