Monday, May 6, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Publication Date: February 1, 1999
Publisher: MTV Books
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 213
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Oh, boy... I'm almost afraid to review this book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower already had so many odds againt it before I read it, I think it's almost a bit unfair. This was one of the few scenarios when I watched the film before reading the book. I didn't care for the film, but my friend loved the book. He handed it to me a few days ago and said, "You're going to read this."

   And so I did. I read it even though I was sure that if I had a nickel for every time I saw the quotes, "We accept the love we think we deserve," or "In that moment, I swear we were infinite," on a hipster photo, my wealth would rival Beyonce's. I read it even though the movie was disappointing. And I read it even though I had a strong feeling that it wouldn't be my cup of tea.

   I tried my best to go into this one with an open mind. And while I did not despise this book, I didn't particularly enjoy it. Charlie was a strange character. I had a difficult time relating to him. He didn't feel like a 15/16 year old to me. Instead, he sounded more like a young, naive child, despite some heavy themes of sex, drugs, and sexual assault. Perhaps that was intentional, as this book documents his growth as a character, but I found it a bit jarring. His closest friends, Sam and Patrick, weren't particularly appealing to me either. Sam was a girl that caused my feelings towards her character to be pulled in different directions. Patrick was funny and provided bursts of delight, but also had that certain misfit quality that all of the characters had.

   This book is written in letters to an anonymous "friend." And while I thought it was fitting of Charlie's character to write this whole book in letters, it also failed to compel me. There was no constant plot going on to leave me wanting more. In a way, if I stopped after one letter and never picked the book up again, the story would've still felt complete.

   The writing is very dull and dry, in my opinion. Similar words and phrases are constantly repeated, making the reading experience very tiring. There are certain parts that contain a subtle beauty, such as the quotes that have been tired out by all the pictures and bracelets they've been printed on, but overall, the writing was very lacking of emotion.

   Perhaps my review is unfair because I already has a preconception of the book, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower failed to impress me, despite the many fans of it that I've encountered. I'm not sure if I'd personally recommend it, but many people love this novel, so I would encourage other interested readers to give it a shot.

   2.5 keys.


  1. I definitely understand the nerves of posting this review. I actually enjoyed the book, but because it was SO hyped up, I ended up being very disappointed by it.

    I almost didn't even rate this on GoodReads because I thought people would throw rocks at me.

  2. You're not alone, I did not enjoy this book like most readers. Maybe I expected too much after all the reviews, but it was lacking something for me. Great, honest review!

  3. Thanks for a honest review, it's always interesting to see the different opinions of a very raved about book. I'd heard great things but I've also heard it quite a bit inappropriate. While I enjoyed the movie I didn't think it was all it was lived up to be. So I don't think I will be buying this soon, maybe borrowing it off a friend.

  4. I was so not a fan of this either. Charlie’s immaturity was perhaps understandable, but seriously—I don’t feel like teenage boys cry as much as he did. And yeah, the whole deal where the hipsters have adopted this as their Bible? Made me SO less than enthused to read this. For me, the entire book felt rather childish and simplistic, which wasn’t fitting for the subject matter being dealt with.

  5. Hmm, I still haven't read this one or watched the movie and for some reason have no motivation to.

    Thanks for reviewing this one, Sophia. It's too bad you couldn't relate to Charlie and found the writing dull. Hope your next read is better.

  6. hee yeah i'm with you with the overuse of the quotes! i read this a loooong time ago. i remember thinking it was okay but it didn't change my life or anything. it seems to be a love or hate it book, actually. i watched the film recently w a friend and she HATED it, ha. so you're not the only one! thanks for your honest review, sophia. <3

  7. Hah hah, your comment about nickels and hipster photos made me laugh. I...don't think this is the book fro me either, I read a few chapters of it and just didn't really connect with it. It's a little too clever, if you know what I mean. Thanks for the honest review! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in feeling this way about the book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. Ah, I bought this book for my friend and she didn't like it either! I get where you're coming from... especially since those quotes are overused these days. I read it a really long time ago, mainly cuz it was compared to The Catcher in the Rye which is one of my all time faves, and while it didn't match up to Catcher I did like Perks! I guess it's a love or hate book (:

  9. I haven't seen the movie (not in its entirety, anyway), and I've had very little interest in picking this up. A lot of my friends who are ardent fans have tried their best to persuade me, but I don't think I will be giving this one a chance anytime soon. I'm glad I read your review as it makes me feel like I'm making the right decision. ;) Sorry it didn't completely work for you, though. I hope your next read is better!

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  11. This is a definate must read for anyone who has gone through the peril of their freshman year of high school, and eventhough it may be over alot of people's heads, it will still make an impact none the less...

    And don't forget to read the hidden ending on the last page!
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