Friday, August 27, 2010

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books
Paperback, 213 pages
Date Published: February 1, 1999

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt. 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those books that will resonate with the younger generation for years upon years. It was first published in 1999, so things have changed quite a bit since then, but the emotions and the insecurities that teens experience, are very much the same. Charlie tells his story and all the experiences he has through a series of letters to an anonymous individual. Through these letters, Charlie grows up and we grow with him.

At first, I didn’t really enjoy the book. The writing style just wasn’t working for me, but I stuck with it and got used to it. By the end, I was attached to Charlie. I cared about him and the friendships he developed. I could even say I loved him. His story is touching and real. Chbosky doesn’t attempt to sugar-coat his writing and make Charlie’s life any easier than it is. By all means, Charlie is a 16 year old boy with quite a few problems. He comes off as quite strange, in comparison with other boys his age, but his complete naïveté is endearing and provokes the need to protect him and shield him. Charlie is not a 'boys boy' and he tends to cry a lot, but that just adds to his character and intrigue. Like every other teenage boy, Charlie has to experience difficult situations and go through difficult times in order to grow up. Teenage angst is not in short supply here and Charlie is definitely not immune to it.

Often described as being poignant and touching, The Perks of Being a Wallflower holds quite true to that description. It can be a bit challenging to read at times because of the constant partying, drugs, sex, and endless supply of ‘this song is awesome’ and ‘I love this book,’ but it’s still enjoyable. The first letter will draw you in and those that follow will have you more and more curious about Charlie. Who is he, really? 

Chbosky’s writing can be trying at times, but he gives us some real gems here. Some lines jumped off the page and struck me with such a force that I’ll remember them for years to come. Charlie views things from the sidelines; Always watching the life around him, but rarely participating. Through this book, we begin to see a progression from a wallflower to (hopefully) something more.

Opening line: Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. ~ pg. 2

Favorite line (I have two):  And in that moment, I swear we were infinite. ~ pg. 39

 And this one:

“I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.” ~ pg. 169

Not quite what I expected, but still a good coming of age story
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


Melissa said...

It sounds quite poignant, though not normally my type of book. Either way, great review!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Thanks Melissa! This really isn't something I would normally pick up, but it was sitting on my shelf and I wanted a nice, quick read. I guess it's almost considered a modern classic at this point and a movie is even being created now, so if you do ever read it, I hope you enjoy it.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

if I had to pick a favorite book, this is it. I've read it a few times since in high was almost once every year for awhile there, but I haven't had as much time these days. I love it though, even got to interview the author which was amazing. So many great quotes!


Anonymous said...

Cool blog, I had not noticed earlier in my searches!
Carry on the good work!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Lauren - That's awesome that you got to interview the author! It's always fun/exciting/overwhelming for me to speak to an author whose books I love.

Anonymous - Thanks :D

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