The Perks of Being A Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: February 1, 1999
by MTV Books and Pocket Books
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Among a lot of books these days, The Perks of Being A Wallflower truly shines like a star. It will forever illuminate my bookshelf just like it illuminated me. As I've said, I'll never ever ever forget what a tremendous impact this book made on me. I would classify this book as mature YA or New Adult (finally figured out what that is!) but I don't think it belongs in any one genre. Anyone who reads it can enjoy it, whether they are a naive thirteen year old like me or an elderly adult. I believe that anyone could benefit from reading this book at any time in their life.
Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in 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. Charle 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.
“I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.”
This book is so special. The characters are just astounding. The character of Sam was just too good to be true. I kept wishing that there was someone in my life like Sam, but sadly, there isn't. The things she said to Charlie, the inspiration she gave him, was just so amazing and mind-blowing. Every time she said something, I'd hang on to each word, and I'd get something new, important, and different with each new sentence. Charlie as a character was fabulous. His voice stands out and is not like any other narration I've read before. Charlie's character made me realize that even though we didn't know where Charlie lived, or whom he was writing to, we knew him so much--better than any of the characters in the book. The little things really counted in getting to know him. And I guess it is like that with any other person as well. I can relate so much to Charlie and now I can think of myself as a 'wallflower'. I just blend in with the rest of the people and sometimes people do not even notice that I am there. One time, a girl in my English class was talking to me and she said, "Wait, you're in my English class? I didn't know that." While being a 'wallflower' doesn't really bother me at all, it is something I can relate to. As a character, Patrick was amazing. There was something depressing about him, though, and when he cried, I wanted to cry too.
The character development in this book is extremely well done. Each character was in full bloom by the end of the book (well...with the exception of Charlie, I guess, but he had learned so much). To be specific, Sam changed so much from the beginning of the book to the end. At the beginning, she was self-conscious and insecure, and then it was like she became a full flower. I know that's a strange metaphor, but I really did think of that when I thought of Sam at the end of the book.
Although the writing isn't full quality, I can't exactly complain about it because these are the letters of a 16 year old boy. They were quite rambling, but it is to be expected from a 16 year old boy writing a letter. And besides, the voice that Chbosky gave him was so unique that I can definitely overlook the repetitive sentences and the childlike tone that Charlie took. I am only taking off .25 of a star for that. The other .75 star comes from the use of sex and drugs in this book. Even though I consider myself to be mature enough to handle those things, I have never experienced either as a thirteen year old and the book made some references that I couldn't exactly understand, especially with the drugs. I know a bit about drugs but not a lot, so the drug parts confused me a little. The sex scenes were a bit uncomfortable but they were fine for me, I guess, since I have read worse. O_O
All in all this book was astounding! The combination of these unforgettable characters, unique writing, and strong character development just made for an incredible book that I will never forget.
PS. I am off to see the movie! (Emma Watson and Logan Lerman?? Um, SCORE!!!)
March 24, 2013
You, as enigmatic and puzzling as you are, and Charlie, have made such a strong and unforgettable impact on me for a mere 213 pages. You have made me laugh out loud, nod in sympathy, sigh with empathy, and cry uncontrollably. In my heart I have now made a place for you, and though many other books have found that place, I do believe that you are one of the most unforgettable. So thank you, for helping me to discover life, death, love, pain, sorrow, happiness, and joy. You have truly changed the way I think about those things.