The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephan Chbosky

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.

My Review:
I feel the need to compare this to I am the Messenger. Same type of issue for me. It would have been really, really good, but only if he had left certain aspects out of the plot. I loved all the song and book references. I loved the flow of the letters, not quite like a journal but not quite like something you would actually tell other people. It was anonymously personal. Honest. I didn’t want to give just two stars, for the main reason that it was just really well written. I just wish alot of it had been left out. It could have been better…

On a side note, I found this psychological ride both extremely interesting and frightening. We start to suspect something is wrong with Charlie, but throughout the story there are so many thoughts he wonders and actions he preforms that make him so relatable. If there was one thing I liked about this story, it was the honest sincerity. I would have preferred a bit more innocence, though…
One of those rare instances where I cannot choose a favorite. If I could, I believe Charlie’s friend Patrick was one of the few I liked, but the homosexuality was greatly disturbing for me. Even some of the other likable characters I was turned off from constantly. It felt like everyone was having sex. Everyone had major flaws or issues. I think I found Charlie’s English teacher the most down to earth type of character, with no surface flaws. Or at least none that were ridiculous blown out of proportion.
I found the way this story unfolds quite interesting. We’re reading the letters of a fifteen year old boy, Charlie, who is not writing to us, but to someone he knows. Maybe not well, but he knows them. He’s writing anonymously. He’s writing about his first year of high school. Now while I’ve never gone to “public” high school, I did find though that this story felt a bit off. Of course, then I realized the reason that they were making such a big deal about certain “issues” was the time frame. This book was published over 10 years ago. And the story takes place another 10 years before it’s publication. So the setting is older than I am. No wonder I felt so lost.
It’s just there was so much detail. TMI. I mean, it was a great book otherwise. But uncomfortable. The writing style really hooked you, drawing you into the story. But there was alot of inappropriate content that just left me really disturbed and unfocused for several days. I didn’t need to know that so-and-so went somewhere with such-and-such and did this-and-that. There was outright sex. And rape. And child molesting. And a pretty intense gay relationship. And drug abuse. There’s also an abortion. And he mentioned the sexual “m word” waaay too many times for comfort. Awkward!!! There is also quite a bit of language, and some physical and I believe even some emotional abuse. All around not your happy-go-lucky type of story.
Favorite Character: N/A
Favorite Quote(s): N/A
Recommended: Older teens & up.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
~ Darkitty
***Next week: Vampire Academy***

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