The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket books (this edition)
Published: February 2nd 2009 (this edition) (first published 1999)
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Date read: June 16th 2014
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
I’ve been wanting to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower for a while now, but promised myself not to do so until I’ve read the book. And I did. The book is from Charlie’s point of view. It’s written in a letter format, where Charlie writes to an anonymous reciever about his problems and thoughts about starting high school; how he handles the impact his favorite aunt’s death gave him, losing a dear friend and meeting new ones.
Charlie: Charlie didn’t really give me a good first impression. I feel a little mean, but I felt like he was being very weak and the fact that he cried all the time made me question how realistic Chbosky was being here. Then I remembered something from my own experiences and understood that a person could cry because of the smallest of issues, and the more I read on, the more I liked Charlie. He really was depressed, yet and tried really hard to become better. Happier even. It seemed like he was stuck between trying to live his life, but at the same time running from it. I can’t imagine the struggle.
Sam: I don’t really know how to describe Sam. She’s this girl who used to have a reputation and then just turns around and becomes this “I don’t care anymore” kind of girl and just… I think she grew to become a more independent individual, specially after the thing that happened with Craig. The way she told Charlie to be more passive, and stop putting everybody in front of him when it wouldn’t make him happy at all. In a way, she straightened him out, and that kind of put my heart to rest, because it seemed like she knew how to work him, while everybody else just didn’t. I hope they got together.
Patrick: I don’t know why, I can’t really pinpoint it, but I really love Patrick. He seems like this happy virus who doesn’t let things get to him. He kind of is the type of person who just goes with the flow and live life one day at a time. I wouldn’t mind having a step-brother like that. I felt really bad for him when he was heartbroken because of Brad, I even wished the book would just swallow me already so I could give him a big, tight, hug.
At first, I felt that the whole “anonymous letter” case was a little bit confusing. The writing was quite oral, and sometimes I just had a floating questionmark above me. But with that being said, I actually just needed a cup of coffee to really open my eyes and absorb everything at a right pace. During the first parts, I kept feeling nervous with Charlie, which I guess can be a good think, since it kind of means that the author has done a good job writing. At least that’s my opinion. When he was anxious, I felt a tad anxious myself. Not that it was very comfortable, but I could feel Charlie’s anxiety, and understand his burden more, and totally took it in. What I really love about this book is how it shows a student who gets straight A’s, also may be having extreme inner struggles.
This book present Charlie as a good student, who also drinks, take drugs, smoke pot and so on. Which I really like because it shows that your school grades don’t define you, and that you can be really effed up and still contain good grades. Beside from the extreme anxiety otherwise, I don’t think you would’ve thought that Charlie was someone with deep, deep, problems. First of all, he took initiative to sit next to Patrick and Sam at the game, which kind of started it all. Then he bought pot when things we’re screwed up. I don’t know, but it didn’t strike me as something someone with anxiety problem would actually do, but I can’t speak out of experience, I have none.
The thing with Charlie, something other reveiewers also has mentioned, is that the everyday tasks we go through everyday seems to matter a whole lot more when it comes to Charlie. He over-thinks and over-analyzes it, to the degree where it can make him go to a really dark place. What really suprised me was how his love for his aunt Helen caused him to completely supress the memories of her “taking advantages” of him when he was just a little kid. This part was acutally rather confusing, as I had to re-read it to be sure I had understood it. The fact that he finally comes to terms with his trauma probably helped him a lot, and I hope that after the epilogue, he really became happy.
All in all:
Recommendation: I really loved this book, and would definitely recommend this. It is kind of depressing sometimes though, just so you’re warned.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
UP NEXT: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider