24 Sep 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
January 1st, 1999 · Pocket Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 231
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.

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.
Review:

Since joining the book blogging community I’ve heard endless and amazing things about The Perks of Being a Wallflower and with the movie release finally upon us, the compliments just keep on coming.

Chbosky deals with real, impending teen issues such as sexuality, drugs abuse, suicide and teen pregnancy, just to name a few, and though he handled them reasonably well, I just felt that he was trying to cram too much into the book. The short sentences were annoying and resulted in a choppy reading experience but that wasn’t even my main problem.

I could not for the life of me, connect with our protagonist, Charlie. He grated on my nerves, plain and simple. At one point in the story, Charlie’s English teacher tells him he's the smartest person he's ever known and though Charlie has an interesting, very pure way of looking at things and seeing the world, I didn’t agree. For a supposedly super smart 15 year old, his letters were filled with the simplest language possible. There’s also the fact that he felt far too innocent for his age. Altogether, his character and voice just seemed unrealistic.

There were some really beautiful passages and quotes and I love how it got me thinking about things such as my first memory. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get back to it and read more. But Charlie? He irritated me to the extremes. But then *insert sound effects* DUN DUN DUN. I don’t why but after such a long time struggling, things with Charlie started to improve at about the half-way mark. Now, don’t go jumping to conclusions, Charlie and I aren’t friends but we’ve finally come to some sort of an understanding; a truce (or maybe it was just due to the fact that he started to grow on me?).

Despite my problem with Charlie, I liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’m even looking forward to the movie, especially since the trailer looks so awesome; whether I see it in the cinemas or wait for it come out on DVD, I’ll definitely give it a watch.

3/5

Have you read Perks? Excited for the movie? Share your thoughts!

19 comments:

  1. Great review! I had similar feelings about Charlie, I found that the stories of those around him were so much more interesting. I'm going to see the movie as I'm curious, hopefully it's better than the book :)

    Maree @ Maree's Musings

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    1. Phew, glad to hear I'm not the only one who had trouble with Charlie! Let's hope we enjoy the movie more!

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  2. I've always been a bit undecided about this book, but now since I've heard about the movie release I'm a bit more eager to pick up a copy. Sorry that you had some issues with the book, but at least you're still not put off from watching the film. Wonderful review Rebecca :)

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    1. Thanks, Jasprit! Definitely give it a go, even though I had major problems with Charlie (it got seriously ugly at times), I think Perks is a good book and hey, the majority love it!

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  3. I thought the writing was impeccable, and Charlie one of the greatest protagonists of YA history. Sorry you didn't feel the same!
    I thought Perks was perfect.

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    1. As the quote goes:

      No two persons ever read the same book - Edmund Wilson

      Glad you loved it!

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  4. I really loved Perks, Rebecca. I understand that Charlie could be too wise for his years and still think and act quite childish, but for me that made him all the more relatable. I actually read this in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down. I am definitely looking forward to the movie as well since the characters are to be played by some of my favorite actors. I'm so sorry you didn't like at as much, Rebecca. Great, honest review! :)

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    1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! As I said in my review, I couldn't wait to get back to it, it was rather addictive.

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  5. I trailer for it looks really good. I want to go watch it. I haven't read the book but I want to. I have also heard great things about it. Too bad you didn't love it but glad to hear it was still enjoyable.

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    1. Hope you have a better time with this book than I did. And have fun watching the movie :)

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  6. i loved this book . maybe cause charlie is a lot like me. gr8 review

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    1. Since your a fan of the book, I hope you like the movie! I've yet to come across a book-to-movie version I love but maybe I'll end up liking the movie more than I did the book!

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  7. Uh... how much will you hate me if I say I'd never heard a THING until I heard the movie news? I... uh... maybe thought it was a 20 year odl Judy Blume book... Seriously :S

    Oh, Becca, I was expecting you to ADORE this. I'm so sorry it fell a little flat for you :(

    Even so, it sounds like there's a lot to like about the book, even if it's GOOD, and not exactly magnificent.

    WONDERFUL review. I actually kind of love hearing when you don't love a book. You're wonderfully honest without being mean, if you knwo what I mean? ♥

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    1. Have you knocked you head today? Hard? I could never hate you. I love you to bits. Ha, Judy Blume? Your funny :D

      Hmm, I 'spose it's addictive and thinky (both good points) but apart from that... Even though I had some major problems, I still think it's a book everyone should read, you know? I hope that makes sense...

      Thanks! I sure do know what you mena. You love hearing when I don't love a book? Ha, I love that you love that. ♥

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    2. I'm serious. Judy Blume.
      Uh...

      >__<

      And seriously. Becca. Dislike more books! It entertains me!

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    3. Dislike more books to entertain you? But...that means I have to suffer. I'm glad you get a kick out of my misery...

      Ha ;D

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  8. I've always thought about reading this book, but I've never gotten around to it. Going to actually add it to my TBR list now and perhaps that will give me a kick in the pants to do it! Thanks for the great review! I'm glad you enjoyed it even though connecting with the main character was hard. :)

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  9. Can I just steal your review and paste it on my blog?
    Bahaha.
    I won't.
    But you had almost the same thoughts as me!
    I really struggled to like Charlie - even at the end I wasn't fully connected with him but I did feel something for him.
    I can't really say it better than you already have! I struggled to understand the hype surrounding this book but I am totally looking forward to the movie. :D
    Great review!!

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