Author: Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: 1st January 1999
Read In: September 2012
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*This is a review of the book I borrowed from my friend*
This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed 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.While this book didn’t make me think about my own life as it seems to have done for many others, I still enjoyed it.
Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
‘Patrick then said something I don’t think I‘ll ever forget.
“He’s a wall flower.”
And Bob really nodded his head.
And the whole room nodded their heads. And I started to feel nervous in the Boy way, but Patrick didn’t let me get too nervous. He sat down next to me.
“You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
I didn’t know that people thought about me. I didn’t know they looked.’
This book covers all topics in a ‘coming of age’ story. Most books would focus on one or two topics. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has everything; drugs, smoking, drinking, sex, college, homosexuality, pregnancy, first kiss, first crush, etcetera. However it felt like it was meant to be there. Nothing felt like it was being added for the sake of it. It was entertaining in that I didn’t know what was coming next.
Charlie was an interesting character to follow. He is naïve, very naïve. Definitely more naïve than your average character I would say. He asks about everything. If you are a young teen and are just discovering these things in life, then you will be able to relate (although I am not encouraging anyone to take up drugs.) There were many times Charlie would do something which I found adorable. I feel like I want to mother him. He is the baby of the group.
My favourite character has to be Patrick. He comes out with these one off witty lines. He brings the light relief. He has a shrug off the shoulder attitude to life which I loved. However he also has his own problems that he has deal with. Sometimes I wanted to find out more about Patrick than I did about any of the other characters.
Even though the book was written in letter format, I still got a good sense of the other characters. This is a story all about the characters. However, as far as the events of the story go, there wasn’t exactly a focus or goal. Not every story needs one but, for me, I would have liked one here. The disjointed style of the letters led the plot to be disjointed. I wanted something to focus on and combine them all together. There were a couple of times, especially in the middle, where Charlie’s train of thought wondered off to something which didn’t seem to have a whole lot of relevance. One minute I am thinking about Charlie’s friends and the next I am getting all the information about his family, which I didn’t care for. Maybe others will care but I didn’t at that moment. This slow patch in the middle didn’t help me get through.
Overall I did enjoy discovering about the lives of these characters and Charlie’s journey into high school. However I would have liked fewer tangents half way through the story and something more to focus on.