In Which I Read "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky

Photo (C) Dean Kealy. See it on my Instagram: @deanzphotoz

Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

This book was recommended to me by one of my younger cousins recently. Only she pushed persuaded me to buy it, I wouldn’t have thought twice about picking it up. I had heard of it, and seen numerous trailers of the movie when it was released, and again on DVD release, but it didn’t really strike me as the kind of book I would read. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the odd book or two that isn’t about magical creatures, time travel, ghosts, etc, but I don’t think I would pick up this type of book unless it was recommended. The books I have read that aren’t science fiction have generally been because of school, or because people have told me “you have to read this book“. I think the only time I didn’t read a non-science fiction book was The Fault In Our Stars, and I had a neighbour who was really sick at the time, and I guess I was maybe looking for a different perspective or something like that; and I then went on to read Paper Towns by the same author John Green, and loved it. I guess the lesson here is I should read more general fiction, because I loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’ve rambled…

Like I said, this book was recommended to me by my younger cousin, and after reading the book I’m kinda thinking “gosh, is she too young to be reading this sort of thing?”, but her reading level is far superior to mine, and if I’m not mistaken she can go through 3-4 books a week (she’ll only be fourteen in November!!!). For anyone else, I guess I would recommend this book for young adults, from the age of 16+ at a push… I dunno… I’m 22 and I was taken aback by some of the things the kids in this book were doing! Maybe I’m just old fashioned/had a ‘neglected childhood’ (as a close friend of mine would say).

I really liked the format of this book. The fact that it was written as a series of letters really made it feel a lot more personal. I loved that it felt like the narrator was talking to you as the reader, asking questions, your opinion, etc. even though we weren’t the intended recipient. At the same time though, we are the intended recipient, as we read these series of letters because we never actually find out who it is he is writing to. At several points throughout the book there were several characters that I thought he could be writing the letters to, but then at the same time I thought would he really talk about them in the third person that way. This later lead me to believe that maybe it was his Aunt Helen he was writing to, but again I dismissed that from the way he mentioned her throughout the story. I laughed at the funny parts of this book, I may have shed a tear or two at the sad parts, so in my opinion that makes this a great read. It truely is a coming-of-age story, and like non-other that I have or ever will read.

I find it hard to pick out any negative points to this book, maybe other than Chbosky tended to make Charlie ramble on a little much in his letters, and then point out that he was rambling on. This struck a nerve with me as a writer, because I’m forever being told that I have a tendency to ramble, so if he knew he was rambling, why did he keep it in there?!? But that’s just me, and not really a major criticism against the book. There were also a lot of darker moments in the book which I know add to the story and give it a bit of drama, but again like I mentioned above, my younger cousin read this book, and if it really is a coming-of-age story that everyone must read, then surely it shouldn’t have those darker moments in it? Again, this is just my opinion.

I’m very glad my cousin made me read this book. Never in a million years would I thought of picking up this book only for her. I guess I’ve said everything now that I have to say, and I’ll be going off now to watch the movie. Here’s hoping it isn’t a major disaster compared to the book!

4 thoughts on “In Which I Read "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky”

    1. I know what you mean 🙂 I do that the odd time, but 9 times out of 10 I’ll try and read the book first! I’m glad you liked it! I’ve only just got the hang of writing reviews properly and was wondering how they were coming across. 🙂

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