Banned Books Week: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

What is a banned book that has left an impression on you over the years? In today’s Banned Books Week post, Gohar discusses the influence of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and how reading has shaped her.

Gohar Chichian, Development and Communications Manager
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Why was this book banned?
The book was banned for “sexual content, and glorification of alcohol use and drugs.”

Why do you love this book?
Stephen Chbosky calls the book a “blueprint to survival,” and I agree – this book touches upon many coming of age themes, and the importance of having a community and friends to help you navigate through your internal conflict and turmoil.

What is your favorite quote from this book?
I have a few that have really stuck with me over the years.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – This really makes you take a pause and reanalyze the relationships and friendships in your life. How do you treat people, and how are you treated by others? Why do we have a tendency to be so harsh on ourselves? It really makes you think about the notion of self-love and accepting only the best for yourself.

“Because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.” – We have to roll with the motions, and keep moving forward.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” – This is a quote I’ll never forget, and always come back to during really striking moments in my life.

Why is literacy and access to books important to you?
Reading is everything to me. Ever since I was little, I loved trips to get books with my parents, walking away with piles that were too heavy for my small body to carry! I was grateful for library access and the ability to read any book I wanted. To me, reading opens up the possibility of exploring new worlds – a new take on characters, perspectives, and issues that I might not otherwise be familiar with. Reading has always been a passion, an escape, and a way to build bonds with others. It’s shaped me in so many ways, and been one of the largest influences on wanting to become a writer and create new worlds myself.

This week marks Banned Books Week, which celebrates everyone’s right to read. This year’s theme stresses the importance of the First Amendment and our right to read in the ongoing battle against censorship. As we reviewed lists of the top challenged books throughout the years, we asked our staff to talk about their favorite banned books, and the importance of literacy and access to books in their lives.

Check out our other staff picks:
David – Eleanor & Park
Emily – To Kill A Mockingbird
Katie – Siddhartha
Matt – The Great Gatsby