C++ does have the handicap of object-orientation. OO is pretty good for designing large to very large programs, but fares poorly in small programs and it's very difficult to wrap your head around the paradigm -- especially for a new programmer.
(Of course you can completely skip the OO and program in a non-OO style, but whichever tutorial or book you choose to learn C++ from will probably dedicate at least a few chapters to it)
I'd still rather go for some other compilable language, and I'm not sure which one to suggest, but I'll echo the sentiment that the OP should stay in Perl-land for a while.
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