Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

Pages: 232
Genre:Young Adult/Adult General Fiction
Release Date (this edition): September 2012
Originally Released:1999
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
RRP: $19.99
Received from Publisher.

THE DESCRIPTION:   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 Charlie 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.

'The Perks of Being A Wallfower' by Stephen Chbosky is a novel that is highly praised. I had high expectations because of this, and my expectations were not only met, but left for dead, when I discovered that this novel goes much further than and "indie" (as much as I hate the term) teenager-finding-his-way-in-life, coming-of-age novel. It's actually about real issues!

At the beginning of the novel Charlie is just starting high-school. He's quite naiive socially, but is also wise beyond his years. He can seem needy at times, he succumbs to peer pressure and he notices a lot of other stuff that other people don't notice. They call him the wallflower, because of his ability to stand back and take it all in. I think Charlie is a very likeable character, regardless of some of the questionable things he does or tells us about. I'm sure that a lot of readers will relate to his reading habits, introversion and ability to observe.

The novel is written in an interesting format; a series of letters addressed 'dear friend', we are not told who this friend is, but we go along with it anyway. I normally don't like books written in Diary entry or letter form, but I really liked Charlie's "voice" and so I went along with it anyway. There is also a poem and some cute little lists that made me laugh. The book definitely isn't for any middle-graders though. Some scenes did remind me a little of the 'Puberty Blues' tv series.

There was a point in the novel where it just got so depressing that I had to put it down. Charlie was at a bit of a low point and he kept writing about everyday things that people think about that are horrible and making them feel even worse. At that point I was ready to put the book down for something of a much more cheerful nature, but after watching a cheerful movie I persisted.

I also can't believe this was a banned book. It has a lot of good lessons and messafes as far as family, friendship and serious issues are concerned. Yeah, sure there are a few choice words and a few graphic memories, but they all serve a greater cause.

Overall, I think this book was great. It was a fantastic read, despite the dreary bits. I give it 5/5 stars, but not a favourite and recommend it to people who like to read books about serious issues and people finding their way in life.

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Katja Weinert said...

I'm leaning towards just watching the movie...shocking I know! Usually I'm all for the books over movies argument, but this looks like I'd be prone to setting it aside. A movie would be shorter - kind of like ripping of a band-aid instead of peeling it off and prolonging the ouch factor.

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

I agree the movie is probably a much healthier way (mentally) to view the story. from the GIFs i've seen on tumblr they have changed some of the quotes quite a bit though...

Anonymous said...

I feel like this is a book I should have read along time ago, especially with the movie being out now. Definitely moving it up a little further on my TBR pile.

Stephsco said...

I meant to read this before the film came out and yet... I may need to pick this up over the holidays.

Keertana said...

I've been so torn about picking this up, especially since I want to see the movie, but I definitely think I'll check it out now. It seems too good to pass up! :)

Tabitha said...

I read this book a little while ago and it was so good. I definitely am agreeing with you on the whole banning situation. It seems like the majority of the books that are banned shouldn't be... but I could see why it is.

Great review.