Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Posted June 15, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Published by MTV Books on February 1st, 1999
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Slice-of-Life
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

5 Stars

So I had been hearing about this book for ages, really. Almost two years and I just now got around to finally reading it. Considering what I had heard (not much about the story, but the emotions people had about it) I had pretty high expectations, but the book exceeded my wildest dreams.

I cried. I seriously, seriously cried for almost the last quarter of the book. That honestly has never happened before. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this emotional about a book. But it was crying in the best possible way, because it’s so uplifting. I just have to write this review now to release my feelings about it, but I realize a lot of it will sound cliché and unoriginal.

Just. It was so perfect. I was a little apprehensive of the writing style, thinking that I wouldn’t really like the epistolary style, but it was perfect anyway, it fit the whole story and really made it even more memorable. What I love about it is that it produces this beautiful honesty about everything. I’ve been keeping a journal for almost 8 years or so, so I could completely relate to the sort of thoughts that Charlie put down on paper. I really related to him because I too always wonder about why people do things and such.

What I really loved about it is I was taken back to my high school days. I could picture everything completely – similar experiences, similar people, similar thoughts. And still it was different. This is the kind of book that I already know I’m going to read at least 20 times in my lifetime. The thoughts it produces… It really just makes you think and wonder about how you see things. I would almost dare to say it’s life changing – excuse all my corniness, but this is truly what I believe right now.

It was completely beautiful. And some people might disagree – say that there is too little plot, or that it’s overdone, or that it’s not the most original story… But it’s really the thoughts it creates, the insights. Some of my absolute favorite media works are my favorites precisely because they’re so subtle. And just completely beautiful. (Like one of my all time favorite movies – Up in the Air.)

The ending I honestly didn’t see coming, but that’s also the moment when you start seeing more connections in the book – the story, the characters, why Charlie is the way he is… It is the kind of ending that immediately makes you want to read the book again, because you just KNOW you’re going to see new things.

Summing Up:

Throughout it all, the book is just so uplifting. Taking the ending into account, I just wish that I could be more like Charlie. The way he looks at things is astounding and really, they’re just words to live by. So this is definitely one of my all time favorite books and I’m now going to be that annoying little kid bugging everyone she knows to read it.

Recommended To:

Seriously EVERYONE.

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