The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket Books
First published February 1st, 1999
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, YA
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
“I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they’re here. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It’s like looking at all the students and wondering who’s had their heart broken that day…or wondering who did the heart breaking and wondering why.”
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 mixed 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 Charlie 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.
I absolutely loved this book. It was beautiful, emotional and gripping. It could have been a 5 stars read for me, but there’s something nagging in my brain.
The synopsis made me believe I was going to read about a very intelligent – above average intelligent – 16-year-old boy. And through all the book I couldn’t feel that at all! The writing didn’t feel like a 16 years old to me. It felt more like a 12-year-old with 16-year-old’s problems, which made me quite confused. It was very difficult to abstract myself from it because the writing and the character’s life mementos didn’t go together.
But if you can abstract yourself from that (which I managed), then you are left with an amazing story of friendship and family. The book passes through everything a teenager might get through, which may sound weird but it didn’t feel unrealistic.
Like I said, Charlie was a very difficult character for me to understand. Because in many things I could sympathize and even see myself in him but in others, I thought he might have some type of learning difficulties? Also maybe dyslexia? But supposedly, he gets straight A’s and everyone says he is intelligent beyond years? I am very confused with him. Or was he talking to a person with learning difficulties in the letters? There’s a point he even says: “They usually start when my mom’s dad (my grandfather) ….” I mean… What? And there were more similar things… Am I missing something?
The other characters were actually really enjoyable. I loved the friendship in the book and how connected they were. I really enjoyed Sam and Patrick, they are definitely a highlight in the book and they were just so much fun to read about! There’s some teenage drama but it’s dealt with in a very different way from all the books I’ve read so far and that also made me enjoy it a lot more.
As for the story, I thought the plot was very interesting, original and sometimes even relatable. I mean, there’s a bit of everything so I guess in a way or another there’s something for everyone in this book.
I truly felt compelled to read it. And it’s a book that hits quite hard in some parts. Especially in the end. I don’t want to give too much information here but this book might trigger some unwanted emotions, so just keep that in mind. But somehow it also has a very uplifting side and some parts really made my heart swell.
I think it was beautiful, if a bit confusing, but I still loved it and thought it very unique. Like I said, it could have been a 5 stars read for me, so it’s a bit sad it didn’t reach it because I’ve been meaning to read this for quite a while. It’s quite emotional sometimes and I wonder how the movie will be compared to this, since I have been putting the movie off since it came out because I really wanted to read the book first… I guess it took me long enough.
Quotes worth reading:
“He’s a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
“I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.”
“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
“Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.”
“This moment will just be another story someday.”
Have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!