Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.

So I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.

I had read this book last year in the month of August, and I remember asking myself, “what’s the big fuss about? It isn’t that great a book.” I ended up giving it three stars and moving on. I found so many beautiful books after reading it that I totally forgot about it, until this year, when I suddenly started feeling that even though I had given it a three-star rating, it was actually a beautiful book that I would love to read again. And I did read it again, and even though it didn’t blow me away, I liked it a lot.

It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.

This book is about an observant teen, Charlie, who starts high school. Charlie has a unique way of seeing the world, and he puts all of his thoughts and the things going around him in the letters he sends to some stranger.

This book is super short. Only 224 pages. And it talks about so many important subjects in those 224 pages.

These include suicide, trauma, drug abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, homophobia, teenage pregnancy, abortion, blame, grief, death of a loved one, racism, bullying, cheating on your partner, divorce, et cetera. Just wanted to say it once again.

Even though it deals with all these subjects, it is not depressing. And even though it is not depressing, I vaguely remember blinking away my tears quite a few times while reading it. I’m not a big crier, I should mention it already.

I love epistolary novels. I didn’t use to, before. And perhaps I liked it more this time because of this fact?

I perhaps also loved it more because it’s about a person’s most important years. I have only read a handful of novels that actually focus on the teenage years of a person. They usually talk about their romantic relationships and relationships with friends and families, but this book talks about so many other aspects of being a teenager, and they include taking a driver’s ed class, getting your driver’s license, discovering your sexuality, questioning your place in this world, getting stoned for the first time, trying to discover new things about people who are around (usually adults), making out for the first time, learning so many things that would make you a more complex human, being in a relationship for the first time and not knowing how to put your thoughts across because you’ve never been in a relationship before (duh), etc. And that is why I loved it more. It is a perfect YA for me.

It is also written in very simple language (well, because it’s in the point of view of a fifteen-year-old who is learning new words). However, Charlie’s voice is kinda like a 12-year-old’s voice, and even though I wanted to ignore it, I couldn’t.

I’m not sure I like all the characters in this book, especially because I think I don’t like everyone around me in real life. The characters feel real to me.

I like Charlie enough (and even though he and I aren’t like each other one bit, I relate to him on so many levels), and his parents, but I’m not sure I liked his friends, Sam and Mary Elizabeth and Patrick, and even his brother and sister. They do sound condescending and often act like Charlie is too young, and sometimes they’re extremely protective of him.

Also, Sam and Patrick are not ideal friends. They’re not always there when Charlie needs them.They disappear and don’t take his calls when he needs someone to listen to him, but he’s there for them. So, I don’t think I would want to be friends with them, but again, I don’t have to like everyone, right? And people are like that. Flawed.

This book also has a lot of beautiful quotes that made the hairs on my arms stand up straight. If you don’t want to read this book for anything that’s mentioned above, just read it for the beautiful quotes.

So, if you want to experience something that would make you feel infinite, you should read this book. I feel extremely satisfied with this book, and even though I didn’t give it 5 stars, I absolutely loved it in a way I can’t describe.

So, have you read this book already? Did you like it? Share your thoughts below!

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