The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

this means I will be good at dating when the time comes.

I should stick to the subject, though. That is what my teacher Bill tells me to do because I write kind of the way I talk. I think that is why he wants me to write that essay about To Kill a Mockingbird.

This boy who likes my sister is always respectful to my parents. My mom likes him very much because of this. My dad thinks he's soft. I think that's why my sister does what she does to him.

This one night, she was saying very mean things about how he didn't stand up to the class bully when he was fifteen or something like that. To tell you the truth, I was just watching the movie he had rented, so I wasn't paying very close attention to their fight. They fight all the time, so I figured that the movie was at least something different, which it wasn't because it was a sequel.

Anyway, after she leaned into him for about four movie scenes, which I guess is about ten minutes or so, he started crying. Crying very hard. Then, I turned around, and my sister pointed at me.

"You see. Even Charlie stood up to his bully. You see."

And this guy got really red-faced. And he looked at me. Then, he looked at her. And he wound up and hit her hard across the face. I mean hard. I just froze because I couldn't believe he did it. It was not like him at all to hit anybody. He was the boy that made mix tapes with themes and hand-colored covers until he hit my sister and stopped crying.

The weird part is that my sister didn't do anything. She just looked at him very quietly. It was so weird. My sister goes crazy if you eat the wrong kind of tuna, but here was this guy hitting her, and she didn't say anything. She just got soft and nice. And she asked me to leave, which I did. After the boy had left, she said that they were "going out" and not to tell mom or dad what happened.

I guess he stood up to his bully. And I guess that makes sense.

That weekend, my sister spent a lot of time with this boy. And they laughed a lot more than they usually did. On Friday night, I was reading my new book, but my brain got tired, so I decided to watch some television instead. And I opened the door to the basement, and my sister and this boy were naked.

He was on top of her, and her legs were draped over either side of the couch. And she screamed at me in a whisper.

"Get out. You pervert."

So, I left. The next day, we all watched my brother play football. And my sister invited this boy over. I am not sure when he left the previous night. They held hands and acted like everything was happy. And this boy said something about how the football team hasn't been the same since my brother graduated, and my dad thanked him. And when the boy left, my dad said that this boy was becoming a fine young man who could carry himself. And my mom was quiet. And my sister looked at me to make sure I wouldn't say anything. And that was that.

"Yes. He is." That's all my sister could say. And I could see this boy at home doing his homework and thinking about my sister naked. And I could see them holding hands at football games that they do not watch. And I could see this boy throwing up in the bushes at a party house. And I could see my sister putting up with it.

And I felt very bad for both of them.

Love always,


September 18, 1991

Dear friend,

I never told you that I am in shop class, did I? Well, I am in shop class, and it is my favorite class next to Bill's advanced english class. I wrote the essay for To Kill a Mockingbird last night, and I handed it in to Bill this morning. We are supposed to talk about it tomorrow during lunch period.

The point, though, is that there is a guy in shop class named "Nothing." I'm not kidding. His name is "Nothing." And he is hilarious. "Nothing" got his name when kids used to tease him in middle school. I think he's a senior now. The kids started calling him Patty when his real name is Patrick. And "Nothing" told these kids, "Listen, you either call me Patrick, or you call me nothing."

So, the kids started calling him "Nothing." And the name just stuck. He was a new kid in the school district at the time because his dad married a new woman in this area. I think I will stop putting quotation marks around Nothing's name because it is annoying and disrupting my flow. I hope you do not find this difficult to follow. I will make sure to differentiate if something comes up.

So, in shop class Nothing started to do a very funny impersonation of our teacher, Mr. Callahan. He even painted in the mutton-chop sideburns with a grease pencil. Hilarious. When Mr. Callahan found Nothing doing this near the belt sander, he actually laughed because Nothing wasn't doing the impersonation mean or anything. It was just that funny. I wish you could have been there because it was the hardest I've laughed since my brother left. My brother used to tell Polish jokes, which I know is wrong, but I just blocked out the Polish part and listened to the jokes. Hilarious.

Oh, incidentally, my sister asked for her "Autumn Leaves" mix tape back. She listens to it all the time now.

Love always,


September 29, 1991

Dear friend,

There is a lot to tell you about the last two weeks. A lot of it is good, but a lot of it is bad. Again, I don't know why this always happens.

First of all, Bill gave me a C on my To Kill a Mockingbird essay because he said that I run my sentences together. I am trying now to practice not to do that. He also said that I should use the vocabulary words that I learn in class like "corpulent" and "jaundice." I would use them here, but I really don't think they are appropriate in this format.

To tell you the truth, I don't know where they are appropriate to use. I'm not saying that you shouldn't know them. You should absolutely. But I just have never heard anyone use the words "corpulent" and "jaundice" ever in my life. That includes teachers. So, what's the point of using words nobody else knows or can say comfortably? I just don't understand that.

I feel the same way about some movie stars who are terrible to watch. Some of these people must have a million dollars at least, and yet, they keep doing these movies. They blow up bad guys. They yell at their detectives. They do interviews for magazines. Every time I see this one particular movie star on a magazine, I can't help but feel terribly sorry for her because nobody respects her at all, and yet they keep interviewing her. And the interviews all say the same thing.

They start with what food they are eating in some restaurant. "As ___________ gingerly munched her Chinese Chicken Salad, she spoke of love." And all the covers say the same thing: "___________ gets to the bottom of stardom, love, and his/her hit new movie/television show/album."

I think it's nice for stars to do interviews to make us think they are just like us, but to tell you the truth, I get the feeling that it's all a big lie. The problem is I don't know who's lying. And I don't know why these magazines sell as much as they do. And I don't know why the ladies in the dentist's office like them as much as they do. A Saturday ago, I was in the dentist's office, and I heard this conversation.

"Did you see that movie?" as she points to the cover.

"I did. I saw it with Harold."

"What do you think?"

"She is just lovely."

"Yeah. She is."

"Oh, I have this new recipe."



"Do you have some time tomorrow?"

"No. Why don't you have Mike fax it to Harold?"


Then, these ladies started talking about the one star I mentioned before, and they both had very strong opinions.

"I think it's disgraceful."

"Did you read the interview in Good Housekeeping?"

"A few months back?"



"Did you read the one in Cosmopolitan?"


"God, it was practically the same interview."

"I don't know why they give her the time of day."

The fact that one of these ladies was my mom made me feel particularly sad because my mom is beautiful. And she's always on a diet. Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him. Incidentally, my dad is a very good husband. He's just pragmatic.

After the dentist's office, my mom drove me to the cemetery where a lot of her relatives are buried. My dad does not like to go to the cemetery because it gives him the creeps. But I don't mind going at all because my Aunt Helen is buried there. My mom was always the pretty one, as they say, and my Aunt Helen was always the other one. The nice thing was my Aunt Helen was never on a diet. And my Aunt Helen was "corpulent." Hey, I did it!

My Aunt Helen would always let us kids stay up and watch Saturday Night Live when she was baby-sitting or when she was living with us and my parents went to another couple's house to get drunk and play board games. When I was very little, I remember going to sleep, while my brother and sister and Aunt Helen watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I could never stay awake when I was that little, and I wish I could, because my brother and sister talk about those moments sometimes. Maybe it's sad that these are now memories. And maybe it's not sad. And maybe it's just the fact that we loved Aunt Helen, especially me, and this was the time we could spend with her.

I won't start listing television episode memories, except one because I guess we're on the subject, and it seems like something everyone can relate to in a small way. And since I don't know you, I figure that maybe I can write about something that you can relate to.

The family was sitting around, watching the final episode of M*A*S*H, and I'll never forget it even though I was very young. My mom was crying. My sister was crying. My brother was using every ounce of strength he had not to cry. And my dad left during one of the final moments to make a sandwich. Now, I don't remember much about the program itself because I was too young, but my dad never left to make a sandwich except during commercial breaks, and then he usually just sent my mom. I walked to the kitchen, and I saw my dad making a sandwich... and crying. He was crying harder than even my mom. And I couldn't believe it. When he finished making his sandwich, he put away the things in the refrigerator and stopped crying and wiped his eyes and saw me.

Then, he walked up, patted my shoulder, and said, "This is our little secret, okay, champ?"

"Okay," I said.

And Dad picked me up with the arm that wasn't holding the sandwich, and carried me to the room that had the television, and put me on his lap for the rest of the television episode. At the end of the episode, he picked me up, turned off the TV, and turned around.

And my dad declared, "That was a great series."

And my mom said, "The best."

And my sister asked, "How long was it on the air?"

And my brother replied, "Nine years, stupid."

And my sister responded, "You... stupid."

And my dad said, "Stop it, right now."

And my mom said, "Listen to your father."

And my brother said nothing.

And my sister said nothing.

And years later I found out my brother was wrong.

I went to the library to look up the figures, and I found out that the episode we watched is the highest watched anything of television history, which I find amazing because it felt like just the five of us.

You know... a lot of kids at school hate their parents. Some of them got hit. And some of them got caught in the middle of wrong lives. Some of them were trophies for their parents to show the neighbors like ribbons or gold stars. And some of them just wanted to drink in peace.

For me personally, as much as I don't understand my mom and dad and as much as I feel sorry for both of them sometimes, I can't help but love them very much. My mom drives to visit the cemetery of people she loves. My dad cried during M*A*S*H, and trusted me to keep his secret, and let me sit on his lap, and called me "champ."

Incidentally, I only have one cavity, and as much as my dentist asks me to, I just can't bring myself to floss.

Love always,


October 6, 1991

Dear friend,

I feel very ashamed. I went to the high school football game the other day, and I don't know exactly why. In middle school, Michael and I would go to the games sometimes even though neither of us were popular enough to go. It was just a place to go on Fridays when we didn't want to watch television. Sometimes, we would see Susan there, and she and Michael would hold hands.

But this time, I went alone because Michael is gone, and Susan hangs around different boys now, and Bridget is still crazy, and Carl's mom sent him to a Catholic school, and Dave with the awkward glasses moved away. I was just kind of watching people, seeing who was in love and who was just hanging around, and I saw that kid I told you about. Remember Nothing? Nothing was there at the football game, and he was one of the few people who was not an adult that was actually watching the game. I mean really watching the game. He would yell things out.

"C'mon, Brad!" That's the name of our quarterback.

Now, normally I am very shy, but Nothing seemed like the kind of guy you could just walk up to at a football game even though you were three years younger and not popular.

"Hey, you're in my shop class!" He's a very friendly person.

"I'm Charlie." I said, not too shy.

"And I'm Patrick. And this is Sam." He pointed to a very pretty girl next to him. And she waved to me.

"Hey, Charlie." Sam had a very nice smile.

They both told me to have a seat, and they both seemed to mean it, so I took a seat. I listened to Nothing yell at the field. And I listened to his play-by-play analysis. And I figured out that this was a kid who knew football very well. He actually knew football as well as my brother. Maybe I should call Nothing "Patrick" from now on since that is how he introduced himself, and that is what Sam calls him.

Incidentally, Sam has brown hair and very very pretty green eyes. The kind of green that doesn't make a big deal about itself. I would have told you that sooner, but under the stadium lights, everything looked kind of washed out. It wasn't until we went to the Big Boy, and Sam and Patrick started to chain-smoke that I got a good look at her. The nice thing about the Big Boy was the fact that Patrick and Sam didn't just throw around inside jokes and make me struggle to keep up. Not at all. They asked me questions.

"How old are you, Charlie?"


"What do you want to do when you grow up?"

"I don't know just yet."

"What's your favorite band?"

"I think maybe the Smiths because I love their song 'Asleep,' but I'm really not sure one way or the other because I don't know any other songs by them too well."

"What's your favorite movie?"

"I don't know really. They're all the same to me."

"How about your favorite book?"

"This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald."


"Because it was the last one I read."

This made them laugh because they knew I meant it honest, not show-off. Then they told me their favorites, and we sat quiet. I ate the pumpkin pie because the lady said it was in season, and Patrick and Sam smoked more cigarettes.

I looked at them, and they looked really happy together. A good kind of happy. And even though I thought Sam was very pretty and nice, and she was the first girl I ever wanted to ask on a date someday when I can drive, I did not mind that she had a boyfriend, especially if he was a good guy like Patrick.

"How long have you been 'going out'?" I asked.

Then, they started laughing. Really laughing hard.

"What's so funny?" I said.

"We're brother and sister," Patrick said, still laughing.

"But you don't look alike," I said.

That's when Sam explained that they were actually stepsister and stepbrother since Patrick's dad married Sam's mom. I was very happy to know that because I would really like to ask Sam on a date someday. I really would. She is so nice.

I feel ashamed, though, because that night, I had a weird dream. I was with Sam. And we were both naked. And her legs were spread over the sides of the couch. And I woke up. And I had never felt that good in my life. But I also felt bad because I saw her naked without her permission. I think that I should tell Sam about this, and I really hope it does not prevent us from maybe making up inside jokes of our own. It would be very nice to have a friend again. I would like that even more than a date.

Love always,


October 14, 1991

Dear friend,

Do you know what "masturbation" is? I think you probably do because you are older than me. But just in case, I will tell you. Masturbation is when you rub your genitals until you have an orgasm. Wow!

I thought that in those movies and television shows when they talk about having a coffee break that they should have a masturbation break. But then again, I think this would decrease productivity.

I'm only being cute here. I don't really mean it. I just wanted to make you smile. I meant the "wow" though.

I told Sam that I dreamt that she and I were naked on the sofa, and I started crying because I felt bad, and do you know what she did? She laughed. Not a mean laugh, either. A really nice, warm laugh. She said that she thought I was being cute. And she said it was okay that I had a dream about her. And I stopped crying. Sam then asked me if I thought she was pretty, and I told her I thought she was "lovely." Sam then looked me right in the eye.

"You know you're too young for me, Charlie? You do know that?"

"Yes, I do."

"I don't want you to waste your time thinking about me that way."

"I won't. It was just a dream."

Sam then gave me a hug, and it was strange because my family doesn't hug a lot except my Aunt Helen. But after a few moments, I could smell Sam's perfume, and I could feel her body against me. And I stepped back.

"Sam, I'm thinking about you that way."

She just looked at me and shook her head. Then, she put her arm around my shoulder and walked me down the hallway. We met Patrick outside because they didn't like to go to class sometimes. They preferred to smoke.

"Charlie has a Charlie-esque crush on me, Patrick."

"He does, huh?"

"I'm trying not to," I offered, which just made them laugh.

Patrick then asked Sam to leave, which she did, and he explained some things to me, so I would know how to be around other girls and not waste my time thinking about Sam that way.

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