Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Title The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author Stephen Chbosky

Release Date February 1, 1999

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the 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.

Charlie 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.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

I remember reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower years ago. I'd guess 10 years or so. I didn't remember anything about the book really, but I did remember liking the book. I wanted to read the book again since they made a movie about it last year (here). Well, after reading the book again, I can say I'm not sure why I originally liked the book. Maybe my tastes have changed or something, but I found myself very underwhelmed by The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Charlie is a very emotional teenager (and by this, I mean he cries A LOT, not that he really has a wide range off emotions because he doesn't), though you aren't clued into why until the ending of the book (I'm assuming this is because Charlie himself doesn't know why). Instead of being able to connect with Charlie and understand his emotions, I found myself getting annoyed with him. I feel like I would have been able to sympathize with Charlie had I understood or at least had some idea of what was going on with him. Is Charlie autistic or did the childhood trauma make him the way he is? We're never given any answers. Since we're stuck with Charlie's detached narration, the book falls short. There are many dramatic events that happen, but I wasn't able to connect with anyone or care about the things that were happening. Maybe the book would have been better if it was written in third person.

I have mixed feelings about The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I wasn't sure I wanted to write a review about it at all. I say skip the book and just watch the movie.


2.5 out of 5 stars

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