Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Read: January 16 – January 17, 2013
Format: Paperback (library book), 213 pages
ISBN: 978-0-671-02734-6

Publisher: MTV Books/Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster), 1999

Personal read.

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)


3 thoughts on “Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  1. FINALLY! Thank you, thank you, thank you. All I’ve heard is people pouring over how GREAT they thought this book was and I didn’t think it was great, or bad. I thought it was just okay. I’m glad someone else finally feels the same way I do.

    • Hey Cassie! Welcome to the blog, and thanks for the comment!
      I, too, had heard nothing but gushing over this book, so I was a little let down. Again, it isn’t horrible, but I didn’t feel like it was a great book of our time or anything. Maybe my opinion would be different if I had read it while I was in high school and dealing with some of the awkwardness that Charlie found himself handling… but I don’t know.

      • See I felt like Charlie was a good character for a teenager, but in general I think the book took teenage-hood to it’s extremes. It was like a season of Glee. : )

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