Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Found This Book....

My daughter brought this book home last night, and since I am totally out of books to read at the moment, I thought I would look at it and see if it was something I could get into (I love reading some of the books the kids bring home; some of them are books I read when I was their age, and it has been a really great experience to be able to share that with them). Three hours later, I put the book down, absolutely stunned. I read a lot, and I love a lot of different kinds of books, have a lot of favorites, and this book now ranks up there in my Top Five. It is called the perks of being a wallflower, by a man called Stephen Chbosky. Have any of you read it? I was actually looking online and found that there are a lot of references to this guy, whom I have never heard of. And on the surface, it is not the kind of book that I personally read. Anything with the words "coming of age..." anywhere in the description are out, as is "..a sweeping saga" or "An epic novel..." But I was bored, the book was there, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon a masterpiece. It is supposed to be about a kid in high school, and it is, but far more than that, it is a story about the human condition as I see it, the struggle for acceptance and finding out just who you are and where you belong. Those kinds of things aren't high-school-specific, and follow closely along with my belief that part of our problems in the world have to do with having lost a sense of community, of being part of something so much bigger than we can imagine. I can't begin to tel you how much I loved this book, so you should go read it yourself, really. I did, however, want to quote this poem that was in the book. I won't make any commentary or analysis of my own, but will say it made me cry.

once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Chops"because that was the name of his dog
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and a gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed a lot
And the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him in bed at night
And was always there to do it.

Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Autumn"
because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new paint
And the kids told him
Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
And the girl around the corner laughed at him
when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed a lot
And his father never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad when he cried for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end of the Apostle's Creed went
And he caught his sister making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed or even talked
And the girl around the corner wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway because that was the thing to do
And at three A.M. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen.

-- Taken from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (and written by a man called Dr. Earl Reum)

***And no, folks, I am not about to go do myself in***

This is just amazing, and because I am a dork like that, my whole life just got better because I read a book that I love.


Kate said...

"my whole life just got better because I read a book that I love."

Isn't that what books are for?

April said...

Darn it! Not on BooksFree. I added the one book of his that is, called Pieces.
You know that after the Anne Lamott recommendation, I'll read anything you want :)

CableGirl said...

Ok, I've got to check this out. Nothing beats a book when you can say that it changed your life.

FreedomFirst said...

I have a movie called "The Ratcatcher" that was made in Scotland. It's all subtitled even though it is technically in English. That excerpt reminded me of it. It is a heartbreaking story and like life, does not have a happy ending. It makes me cry every time I watch it. And I mean REALLY cry.

At the end of the movie are a few short films made by the same director. One of them is called "Small Deaths." It really sticks in my mind. I don't remember it in detail, it's been years since I watched it because we lost the remote to the DVD player, lol. But it shows just a few short scenes from a little girl's life, in sequence; as a toddler, as an adolescent, and as a teenager; and in each scene something happens to kill a little piece of her the way we all die a tiny bit inside, so many times in our lives. It's the best short film I've ever seen.

Kori said...

@Freedom: I just added that to my Netflix Queue, thanks for the recommend. I love movies/books like that, even though they are so sad. Life IS sad sometimes, though, we all know!

@April: I actually cancelled my BooksFree account because I read WAY faster than they can mail! Let me know if Pieces is good.

@CableGirl: Boy, if you want a LIST of those, I am happy to oblige.

@Kate: Thank you, because I KNEW you would "get it."

THopgood said... book list is growing...

I have 5 lined up already that I just picked up as recommended by fellow bloggers. I can't seem to find enough time to read my current book and yet I keep making trips to the book store for more.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

that poem is so sad.

Shamelessly Sassy said...

I love, love, love that book

Tara R. said...

I would rather read a good book than do just about anything else. This was such a poignant piece. thanks for sharing.

JT said...

Wow! That's pretty intense. And incredibly sad, and moving, and how can that be ignored? But if the people who actually wrote that, managed to get it to someone and had it ignored, how wrenching would it be? All the same, it's a good thing, gives me a new resolution, to read what my daughter writes.

Anna-borderline-bonkers-banana :) said...

Oh my gosh! What a poem! Makes one think and never what to loose focus on what is so important, raising these kids and keeping relationships strong, yikes!
Reading this just made my life better, thanks!
Nice to meet you btw:)

LunaNik said...

That Just, wow.

Killlashandra said...

Wow, now there is a book to consider for sure. Wonderfully written poem, rings too true.