Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Release Date – January 1, 1999
Publisher Website – Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 224 pages
My Rating- 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. 
This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 
This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course 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.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.....

Your teenage years are some of the most turbulent, formative and intense times of your life. Every emotion is heightened, everything is about the here and now. The Perks of Being a Wallflower offers a realistic voice to a life changing experience - growing up.

The characters in this novel are it’s driving force. They are nuanced, complex and achingly real. They could be your best friends or the friends you used to have in high school. Through them the experience of high school is a shared, collective experience WITH the reader. It’s a wonderful example of an experience versus story.

Charlie is character that fascinated me. A naive, almost much younger than his years point of view made for a unique perspective. The mystery of Charlie drew me in and kept me reading. He has panic attacks, sees a therapist and is socially awkward. You will be captivated by the mystery surrounding the whys of his behaviour.

Patrick was one of the favourite characters in the novel. A young man trying to not only navigate the treacherous halls of school, but also dealing with a secret relationship. Patrick is a little self destructive in that way that some teenagers are. His voice was so vivid even as a secondary character. I wanted more of him in the novel, and would read an entire novel from his perspective.

Sam is a wonderful love interest for Charlie. We immediately see why Charlie would be attracted to her, but the author uses her character to deepen Charlie’s character. It’s her impact on Charlie that is important, and his treatment of her that speaks volumes about his character. Her insistence that she does not want to be anyone’s crush was refreshing. Her urging Charlie to live his life provided Charlie with a much needed push.

There are many heartbreaking things that happen in this novel. Fights, family drama, being bullied, and date rape are just some of the issues tackled within this relatively short novel . They all lead to the end reveal of Charlie’s dark secret. As it is a huge spoiler I can not reveal what it is, but it makes you rethink the book once you are aware. The quote “We accept the love we think we deserve” was fitting for so many characters in the novel. Charlie himself is drawn to fractured, damaged people, even in friendship.

The notion of not living for other people is reflected throughout the novel. Living the life YOU want, and growing into that life is something that Charlie is trying to figure out. He needs to start living for himself and in the end, he's on his way.

Adults will be able to reminisce about their own high school experience and teenagers will see themselves reflected in the characters of Charlie’s world. It is a book that almost demands a second reading.


  1. Great review! I have this book on my wish list for a while now. I loved the trailer for the movie and this cover is so pretty! Way better than the first ones! Loved to read your thoughts about it!

  2. Awesome review Kathy! I remember I read this book in High School and I can not wait to read it again. I think it is one of those books you can read at any age and still connect. Glad that you enjoyed it!

  3. I saw the movie trailer for this. The book sounds a lot more in depth and sincere. Great review!

    Amy :D <3


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