Monday 23 April 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
February 1st 1999
Pocket Books

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.

Well, I literally sped through this book. I don't know what it was about it, because it's not like it's fast paced or action or anything, I just didn't want to stop reading it. I think I was just enjoying my time in Charlie's company, and seeing him grow and whatever. I don't know. I just really liked it.

I really enjoyed the actual  format the story was told in, as it was written as a series of letters to a person who neither we nor Charlie actually know, and who we don't even know the name of. I thought that that was a really interesting way to tell the story, and showed Charlie off as a character a lot better than if it had been written in the usual novel format. Also, it was just kind of fun and different.

I also really loved the whole tone of the book. It just felt gentle and quiet, and soft, which I guess are weird words to use when describing a book, but it just feels like the only way I can describe how it felt when I read it. It also felt kind of sombre, even though it wasn't really a sad story or anything. I know this isn't really making much sense, but I'm still kind of just getting my feelings together about it. I definitely feel like Asleep is the perfect song for it, and I desperately hope they use it in the film because it's such an important song in this book. Which brings me into talking about the music mentioned in the book, too. It wasn't, like, a music book or anything, and music isn't particularly important in it, but there are a lot of songs mentioned, particularly those on the Winter mixtape Charlie gave to Patrick, that just sort of feel like this book. And I hope they're all on the soundtrack for the film, because that'd make it even more beautiful.

Charlie was kind of a sweet character, and I really enjoyed reading everything from his perspective. The letter format, I feel, allowed for more of personality to show and you really just get a feel of who he is purely because of how it's written. His writing style is kind of simple, but not in a bad way, which makes the book easy to read, yet still somehow sounds so significant and insightful and it makes me thing that you don't always need fancy sentences to write a beautiful book, but I guess sometimes it helps. It just depends what kind of book it is, I guess!

The other characters were also lovely, and I was kind of glad that it was a book with a lot of nice people in it. Nice people that do drugs sometimes and drink a lot and whatever, but nice people nevertheless. Patrick and Sam were my favourites (of course), but I loved Mary Elizabeth a lot too, and it makes me miss reading books about just normal people every now and again. I loved the fact that Patrick was gay it wasn't a big deal, and it wasn't an issues book or anything, and I loved the fact that they loved Charlie so much, which I guess makes sense because Charlie is really one of the sweetest people you'll ever read about. All of his presents that he got people at Christmas and stuff, and everything he did was always with other people in mind and he was just lovely. Messed up, but lovely. Plus, Bill the English teacher! I almost forgot about him. My English teacher is lovely, but I still think I want one like Bill, whose more a friend than an English teacher, and he was just really nice.

Also, I thought that the twist at the end was a really interesting move on the authors part. I believe I heard that it's meant to be a bit like Catcher in the Rye, which I'll admit I've never read but certainly wish to now that I've read this. I think that the twist certainly added another dimension to a story that I just thought was going to be this boys reflection on his first year in high school. Even though it never really goes into detail about what happened, it does imply things that explain quite a lot of stuff, actually. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a really wonderful book. It's not especially happy and it's no especially sad, and reading this review book I'm wondering if I just didn't get the book completely, but I kind of feel that it doesn't matter because I loved it anyway, and I'm rambling, but you should definietly just read this book. It's very good.

And on that very insightful note of mine, I shall leave you with this song.


  1. i loved this book and so pleased you loved it too. also you are a star for linking the Smiths song. been looking for it for ages!

  2. Awesome that you loved this one, I really want to read it soon! :D


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