Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books
Pages: 213
Release date: February 1st 1999
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Library
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.

First sentence:
August 25, 1991
Dear friend,
I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that person even though you could have.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm stupid for having waited this long to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I'd heard it's amazing, but it never really appealed to me. I know it's pretty ridiculous, but I don't like "old books." I like books that take place now. Since this takes place twenty years ago, I considered it "old" and didn't think I'd like it. I didn't get what it's about, nothing except that it's a coming-of-age story, which isn't all that special. Neither of those was a problem, though - I rarely noticed it takes place twenty years ago, lots of it could happen now, too; and not having one set topic is one of the things I enjoyed about this book. Even though it deals with loads of serious topics, it's not an issue book. I really liked not knowing what the main topic is and discovering more and more about Charlie's issues along the way.

When I first started reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and saw it's written in a series of letters to an anonymous friend, I thought the format was kind of strange. It only took me a few pages to get into it, though, and I ended up really liking the format. It felt like Charlie was addressing me, much more than with a traditional narrative. I felt like I was the anonymous friend and wanted so badly to write back to Charlie.

The writing is amazing, so insightful and touching. What I mean isn't that the writing is flawless, it's more how the style and Charlie's voice shine through perfectly. It's raw and honest, so real I could imagine Charlie telling me all of this. Charlie is just such a great character. I felt for him and wanted to somehow help him throughout the book. His feelings are so raw and so relatable. I can't even express how I feel about Charlie - I just love him.

One thing I thought was weird, though, is Charlie's friendship with Sam and Patrick. He's a freshman, and a pretty immature and not exactly outgoing one at that, but he's friends with all these seniors. How does that work?

I could talk about all of the issues Charlie has, but I don't really want to. If you haven't read The Perks of Being a Wallflower yet, you should have the same reading experience I had, not really knowing what those issues are. I'll just say that what Charlie has to go through is heartbreaking and shocking and had me crying several times while reading.

My reluctance to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower was not justified at all - this book really is as great as everyone else has said it is. I got this at the library, but will have to buy my own copy to re-read and keep on my favorites' shelf. I know most of you have already read this, but for those who haven't, I really recommend it!


  1. i really need to get around to this one! nice job with the review. and man, i'm loving that new cover!

  2. I have wanted to read this one for a number of months. Staying on my to be read continent. Thanks

  3. I had a different response when I read the title of this book ;o) Just shows I've been reading so many regency historicals that "wallflower" has a different meaning to me *lol*
    Great review I must look into getting this title on my TBR pile!

  4. I have been meaning to read this book but I keep pushing it off. But now that I see that there will be a movie w/ Emma Watson starring, I have to read it! Thanks for great review.

  5. I really like the sound of this book. The title caught me and the fact that its a boy main instead of a female made me choose this one. I like your review. Thanks!

  6. I have heard about this book, and I love the way in which you reviewed this. It is true that people often look to new books rather than old books. I am just the opposite. Thanks!

  7. My absolute favorite book of all-time. 5 or 6 years ago, I gave a copy to my closest friends for Christmas. I'm madly in love with this book! I've read it 3 or 4 times, but I'm feeling the urge to go back to it again soon.

  8. Woow, you gave it 5 stars *w*
    I want to read this book so badly.. but for one or another reason I can't get it u__u
    I also want to watch the movie!! ^^

  9. I've actually never heard of this book, but your rave 5 star review really has me interested!
    Thanks for opening my eyes to a book that seems fantastic!

  10. Great review. Can't wait for the movie version of Perks starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.

  11. Such a great review! This book is on my wishlist since a long time. I don't think the movie would do it justice though :/

  12. I've heard so many good things about this book. If I don't win it, I'm definitely buying it.

  13. I've heard a lot of good things about this novel. I think they are making it into a movie. But I've been meaning to read this one.


  14. I recently read an author interview in which a respected and immensely talented author was asked what his favourite books were and right at the top of that list of his favourite books was this one- The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This got me thinking about how when I'd first been introduced to the online book community, this book kept being mentioned and I added it to my to-read list. However, a whole load of other books came in the way and I never thought of it again. Now that I've read this review and after reading that author interview, I'm determined to get my hands on a copy and get started. Great review!


  15. Wonderful review! I love the book (might have to go to the library for a re-read). :D


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