The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket Books | 2009 (first published 1999) | 232 pages
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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 is just another of those books published way back in 1999 (when I was 12) that I’m only reading now. I first found out about this book when I heard about the movie starring Emma Watson. I haven’t watched it…I’m planning to watch it right after writing this review.
Cute book title but the story is far from ‘cute’. At some parts, it is dark and unfunny, something that some people might relate to especially if their growing up years had been tough. Even the book begins with the death of a close friend of Charlie’s.
The teenage years certainly are not easy but Charlie is fortunate to have found friendship in two seniors – Patrick and Sam. In the book, we read Charlie’s letters to a ‘friend’, written from Aug 1991 until Aug the next year. In his letters, he writes about getting to know step-siblings, Patrick and Sam, who try to guide him through life. Well, they guide him more on the basic things like getting through first dates, for example. In other words, Patrick and Sam were there for him when his own older siblings could not.
I’m not sure if I found Charlie a likeable character. He seems confused and tends to jumble up his thoughts in his letters. He likes to read and his teacher keeps giving him various books to delve into. Therefore, he would also discuss the books he reads with his ‘friend’, the recipient of the letters.
In short, this book is about loss, self-discovery, family, friends and dealing with the roller coaster ride of the teenage years. Read this with an open mind and don’t mind Charlie’s weirdness. You will find out why at the end.
I won my copy of this book from the Literary Blog Hop Giveaway held at Kristi Loves Books last year.