Book Reviews

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

22628Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Publication Date: 1999
Age Recommendation: Mature High School

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.

(Description from Goodreads)

Unpopular opinion time: I really, really liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But my mind wasn’t blown the way everyone else’s minds seem to be.

It actually took me awhile to get into the book, mostly because of the writing style. I understand the reasons behind it, that Charlie is writing all these letters to an unnamed “friend” and that’s just his voice, but it still grated on me until I got used to it. And Charlie himself – I just didn’t connect with him the way a lot of people did. He seemed realistic with his insecurities and shyness, but at the same time, he’s just not a character that spoke to me.

That being said, I think the characters were the biggest strength of the book. Which is good, because this book is about people and relationships and growing up. Every character had his or her flaws, whether it was Charlie’s sister and her reliance on boys to determine her self-worth, or Patrick and the ways he deals with being gay in a town that isn’t friendly to people who are gay. None of these things were overpowering; they didn’t necessarily define the characters, they were just a part of them.

Like I said, this book is about relationships, and that was another strength of the book. Charlie is someone who has struggled making friends because he’s so shy, so watching him navigate his friendships was something that did speak to me. I also loved how this book captured the essence of friendships in high school.

The ending took me a little by surprise, and I wish it could’ve been developed more since it felt a little rushed to me. But, like I said, the characters and relationships were really what the book was about, and those made up for the ending for me.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  1. I feel similarly. I liked it a lot, but it’s not among my favorites. Have you seen the movie? It’s very, very well done. It’s one of those rare cases when I liked the movie more than the book, actually.

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