Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books
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.
I know it’s practically a sin in the book blogging community, but I actually saw the movie of this book before I even considered reading it. And, when I decided to read it, I was quite nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the emotionally-devestating and powerful movie – but luckily, things worked out well and there were ways that this book seemed better than the movie. At least on an emotional-scale, I think this was a rare and amazing 5 star book for me.
I often had trouble reading more than 20 or so pages at once – not because I was bored or frustrated, but because I felt like that was all I could handle at a time emotionally. I’m not quite sure why – as I’ve already said, I’m definitely an emotional reader, but unless I’m dealing with a book where I’m crying too much and need a short break, I’ve never felt the need to spread a book out over at least a week in order to get through it. The story definitely seemed powerful and there were many different ways that I felt a connection with it, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about this book, but in a good way.
The voice just seemed so genuine in this book. It’s all letters to a mysterious friend that we never learn the identity of (unless I missed something), written by the titular wallflower, Charlie. Oftentimes male YA narrators can be unrealistic or the type of people whose head you don’t want to be in. Charlie’s head can be a little uncomfortable to be in – he is a young teenage boy, after all – but he’s also a sensitive and intriguing person, so I never felt that I needed to get out of his head and see the story from another perspective.
One of my favorite differences bout this book is the bigger role Charlie’s family plays. In the movie, I feel like there was more of a focus on Charlie’s new friends, which makes sense for the movie, but it was definitely nice to see his family’s role expanded upon in the original source. My favorite family member was definitely Charlie’s unnamed sister and the relationship between the two. His sister wasn’t a perfect person, but she was very interesting and complex and complicated. I really wish her role could have been bigger in the movie. Some things made the transition – her unhealthy romantic relationship, her relationship with Charlie – but a lot of things didn’t, which is a shame but understandable when you’re trying to create a movie where her character isn’t one of the main ones.
I feel like I should have more to say about this book, but I really don’t. I thought it was amazing and left a big impact on me, but not in a way that I can really express in a review. I’m so glad that the author was able to make a movie that’s genuine and faithful to his book, but some things weren’t able to remain in the adaptation, so I’m glad I took a chance and read the book.