Book Review: The Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

perksCharlie 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.

Review( and favorite quotes)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was on my TBR for quite a while. I was looking for a quick read during one of my lunch breaks last week when I decided to read the book. It ended up being one of the best books that I have read this year. The story is narrated in a well-balanced pace. Its starts really slow but each chapter will pull you in and hold your attention to the last page.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The story is narrated through letters written by Charlie to someone that he addresses as ‘friend’. He writes about his days and through the letter we get to know about his life. I liked Charlie from the moment I met him on the first page. He is so endearing that I found myself going through each emotion that he went through. I was rooting for him all the way. I liked how he described his days and some of the words and phrases that he used. For instance; he described him and his friends as being infinite. I thought the line was just wonderful.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The book tackles so many heavy themes. There are issues of mental health, homosexuality, rape, child abuse, drug use, domestic abuse. Due to Charlie’s personality, he gets to witness all these things because being a wallflower means that most people tend to forget that he is even there. We also get to see Charlie struggle with grief and see how he copes with this through the chapters of the book.

This is also a coming of age story. We get to see Charlie go through life as he grows up and makes new discoveries. There are themes about different kinds of love which also makeup Charlie’s growing up experience. However, one of my favourite themes in the story is friendship and it was interesting to see Charlie making friends despite his own struggled.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I really liked Charlie and could relate to him. I get what it’s like to be an introvert and at the same time trying to fit in because I went through the same thing. I didn’t do drugs in high school but I did make some mix tapes lol and I definitely loved music. To this day, different songs bring back different memories. I also liked the fact that Charlie was such an ardent reader. He was always discovering new books though his teacher. He mostly read classics but he was still a bookworm and I do love fictional bookworms. The books that he mentioned were; To Kill a Mockingbird, This Side of Paradise, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, A Separate Peace, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, Naked Lunch, Walden, Hamlet, The Stranger and The Fountainhead. Overall, he was a brilliant, likeable narrator.

“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

perksThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky evoked so many different emotions. It was interesting to see how Charlie managed to balance his issues with being a normal high school kid. I liked seeing the world through his eyes. There were chapters that made me laugh while there are others that broke my heart especially towards the end of the book. The book is so well written and I really enjoyed the 90s setting especially because I grew up in that time period. This made it more relatable and enjoyable. I definitely recommend this book. It was touching, emotional, compelling…basically, it’s a wonderful book.

“I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

About Stephen Chbosky

Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

He is the recipient of the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Everything Divided as well as a participant in the Sundance Institute’s filmmakers’ lab for his current project, Fingernails and Smooth Skin. Chbosky lives in New York.