Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is AMAZING. I read it this summer since the movie is due out, and I am so happy I did.

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 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, andThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.GoodReads

We follow Charlie through the difficulties of making friends the dark side of relationships (and sometimes funny as experimentation with drugs) and I rooted him the entire time as he learned about who he is and who he wants to be.
  • Originality: 7. This is a classic coming of age YA (but extra points for all the classic YA Charlie reads and thinks about. How meta!) Having a narrator who was unraveling was new for me and felt very original.
  • Absurdity: negative 10.This book tackles serious issues like abuse drugs sexuality and mental health with aplomb. A book that can be serious and striking while also bring a fun read. This is a major accomplishment. Can we also give out a Best Teacher Award? Having watched close friends through their first yr of teaching I totally bought the idealistic hopes/ change the world attitude of Bill. It resonated as lovely and a bit bittersweet. 
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. let's call this friend-mance . Charlie so needs good friends and then turns out to be an excellent one thoughtful and earnest. And don't get me started on how much he loves his family and how he can so easily say it. Precious to the tenth degree! Only thing is I am not totally convinced on the stuff about Charlie being a doormat friend . You can be a great person without being a alpha personality! I didn't want him to change who he is.
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 8.Charlie narrates his freshman year of high school through a series of sparse, moving letters to an unknown reader. All we know is that Charlie has something to say, and he trusts the reader to understand (me! he trusts me!) I love the connection the reader has (or at least I felt) with Charlie. The distinctive voice feels authentic. I believed this was a teenage boy on the brink of unraveling. 
Wow wow wow wow! If you have not read this already, go get it. Today, if possible. Then we can all see the movie, which is also getting great reviews.


  1. I find your rating system interesting yet confusing, lol. I loved this book as well and I agree introverts can be awesome people too.

    1. Becky, it isn't exactly based on hard science :-). Originality and Absurdity speak for themselves, as does romance! Harry Potter can either be a reflection on the writing style of the book (with J.K. Rowling at the peak of charm/story telling) or about how much magic is involved. It really depends on the day, lol. Check out the review criteria to the right sometime!

  2. Hmm... I'm always wary of reading the book before seeing the movie, mostly because I end up super disappointed. I have heard SUPER amazing things about this novel though and can't wait to check it out!

  3. My college roommate sent me her copy last year and I'm so excited to read it. I'm not sure why I haven't gotten to it yet. I read the screenplay and it was AMAZING and I can't wait for the movie.


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