Publisher: MTV Books/Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster), 1999
Book Blurb: 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 year 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.
My Opinion: With the new Emma Watson movie coming out, I had a burning desire to read the book first (as I always do… though I don’t always succeed). So I grabbed it from the library and read it.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed the book. It was OK. I might even say it was good. I really enjoyed that the stories Charlie tells are very real and relatable from a High School perspective. But that was also a downfall. Because the stories were so real, they also bordered a bit on boring. Sparse.
With a title like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the book never really explored said “perks”. It is mostly the ramblings of a fifteen year old boy, who, judging by the writing style, is afflicted with some sort of mental disability. Even with the ending, which infuses some shock in the story, the plot is thin.
I am not a fan of epistolary novels, mostly because they distance you from the characters. I never really felt like I got to know Charlie, nevermind Sam and Patrick. In the end I just had a very neutral reaction to the book.
Bottom Line: I really don’t understand why this book is hailed so much… it wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t find it to be that great either. I am curious to see how the movie turns out.
(Cover image and book blurb courtesy of Goodreads)