Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Okay, so I'd been wanting to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky since I heard about the film. Everyone went on about how great the book was, and I knew that I had to read it. There was one major thing that bothered me, but on the whole I loved it!

Charlie is a freshman in high school and is a little bit of a geek. This is the coming of age of Charlie as he writes letters to unknown friend. Together, we experience the highs and lows of one year of his life in which he does a lot of firsts and finds out some important information about himself.

I like the title of this book. I really do. Our main character is a big time wallflower, and he does discover that it has its perks. Therefore, the title really explains the books. I also think it's quite an original title and an interesting sounding one at that.

The cover of this book is quite simple yet it just kind of works. I think that if there would've been more on the cover, it would've lost its appeal.

Chbosky did an excellent job with the world building. Reading this book, it took me back to my high school days. I thought the author did a great job in capturing the essence of high school kids. I also love how the narration of the story was told through letters.

I thought the pacing was spot on. I would've finished this book in less than a day if real life hadn't have got in the way! I devoured every word, and I couldn't wait to find out what Charlie would experience next.

As for the dialogue, I thought it did sound like a bunch of teenagers talking to one another which is was supposed to. However, the way Charlie spoke bugged me a bit. His dialogue (both internally and to the other characters) made him sound like he was either really young or a bit slow. Perhaps this was done on purpose, and I'm missing the point completely. There are references to sex, drugs, and the like so please keep this in mind when deciding if this is the book for you as I know some people might not like reading about that. As for swear words, I think there may've been only one, but it wasn't a bad swear word.

As stated in the previous paragraph, I felt that the character of Charlie seemed to be either slow or really young. I'm not saying that he was a poorly written character because he wasn't. He just came across as too naive on most things to feel believable a lot of the time. He is meant to be 15 year old, yet he acts, speaks and thinks more like a 10 year old. Maybe this was just me, but that really bugged me! However, I did love Sam and Patrick. I loved how feminine and sweet Sam came across as, and I loved how big of a personality Patrick had. I would have to say that Patrick was probably my favorite character in the book.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was definitely an enjoyable read for me. I think if Charlie would've acted more like his age, it would've been a tad bit better.

I'd recommend this book to everyone, aged 14+, that enjoys reading about the ups and downs of life as well as those adults who want to remember their high school years.

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  1. I go back and forth on my thoughts on this book-- I think I probably need to reread it to fully know what I think. When I first finished it, I was kind of disappointed. But for some reason as time has gone on, I look back on the book fondly. I'm from Pittsburgh, so maybe I just WANT to like it.

    I agree that something about Charlie felt off. I know he was abused, but I also think maybe he was on the autism spectrum as well??

    1. Yes, I was thinking that was a possibility with Charlie as well. I wouldn't be surprised if he was on the spectrum.