The Perks of Being a Wallflowerby Stephen Chbosky Published 01 Jan 1970
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Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.
The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" Reviews
a shy or retiring person who remains unnoticed at social events, especially a woman without a dance partner
I decided to read this book not because there was going to be a movie coming out soon.
It one of the reasons but then again it wasn’t the main one.
I wanted to read it because the word “wallflower” caught my attention.
I was a wallflower.
I was not one of those kids people notice immediately.
I was one of those people who blends in very well that I was no longer noticeable.
I was a “nobody”.
I was one of those uncool kids back in high school that almost no one spoke to because I always kept to myself.
I was insecure.
I was scared that if I try to talk no one would listen.
Actually I think I still am even though I am already working.
I am still a “nobody” here.
I have a couple of friends but it seems like no one really knows who I really am because I never let them find out who I really was.
They know my name and a couple of unimportant things but I think that’s about it.
They don’t really care about the things I like, the things that make me cry, the things that make me smile.
I was just another person they knew by name but never really knew at all.
Perks of Being a Wallflower has to be one of the books that I could relate to.
It was very insightful and poignant that in most part of this book I felt like it was me writing those letters.
Charlie (the main character) and I don’t have very much in common but still I found myself relating to his situation almost all throughout the book.
I was not as introverted nor was I as smart as he was but there was something about how the author wrote him that you’ll start to see the world through his eyes.
You’ll see how innocent and pure his outlook was in life.
Charlie wasn’t normal and he knew it.
He was struggling after the death of his favorite Aunt.
He tried his best to “participate” but there is still this part of him that would be locked away from everyone else.
Charlie was a freshman and he still has a lot of things to learn.
Hanging out with Patrick and Sam (who were both seniors) exposed him to a lot of things he wasn’t used to (like smoking, drinking, making out those sort of stuff).
His letters mirrors the experience or the things we went through during his first year in high school.
As I was saying earlier I loved this book a lot because I related much with not only the character but with the whole story.
We may not be like Charlie but the things he went through in high school were something almost everyone went through.
I didn’t do drugs nor did I smoke a lot when I was in high school.
But some kids were motivated in doing so by peer pressure but in Charlie’s case I think it was more of curiosity rather than peer pressure.
This book showed us how a special kid like Charlie would cope with being in high school and overcoming the problems he would encounter as he goes along.
Another thing I loved about this book was how it was written.
Though it was written back in the 90’s when you read it, you’ll get this impression that it was just written recently in a 90’s setting.
This book was transcend time.
When you read it probably in the next 10 years you would still be able to relate to it.
There were a lot of good quotations in this book but one really stood out for me:
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
We are all different.
We are also all the same.
Most of us may not be as smart as Charlie or as popular as Brad (who I think was an a**hole) but all of us can still make a difference.
We may be experiencing troubles right now but that could change based on the decisions or choices that we would make.
I don’t think this is much of a review but more of a rant.
Sorry my dear readers if this review disappointed you but I kind of like sharing my thoughts about a book that I really connected with.
This book was one of them.
I give this book 5 wonderful glittery stars!
February 25, 2013
I am writing to you because I feel like you're the only one that would listen to me right now. From all the friends that I have made you are the one that's the most understanding. I guess what I'm trying to do is thank you for being there for me these last couple of days. I didn't expect to learn from you as much as I have. My mom always says that you can never really understand a person until you walk in their shoes, but I guess getting to know you and reading your story did just that. I have to say you have stripped me from any prejudice I might have had. And I am truly sorry if I had any. You showed me that no matter what happens, what we experience, we always have a right to feel the way we feel, just because. You showed me the purity of feelings, beauty of thoughts, generosity of love and warmth of friendship. You made me appreciate books and poetry more, and see the impact they have on people's lives. For that you will always hold a special place in my heart. I'd like to think that you get better, I hope one day you can be honest with people you love, be who you really are and do what you want to do. Most importantly I hope that you will love the real Sam and not just the idea of her and be ready for her to love you back. I hope we can see each other some day, I'll make sure to come back and remind myself of everything that is you, tho I hope to never forget.
There may be a book in the world that can address, just within very few pages, suicide, molestation, domestic abuse, homosexuality, drug use, mental issues, first sexual experiences, rape, abortion, etc., and not sound like a Lifetime movie, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not an example of that.
For me, the straw that broke the camel's back was when I realized that, to add to all of the above mentioned melodrama, the narrator was either emotionally or mentally handicapped. It appeared, Charlie's inability to identify any emotion within himself besides sadness, his constant crying, his lack of knowledge (at the age of 15) what masturbation was, his failure to understand any social situation (like a rape while witnessing it in his teen years) was indicative of either some form of autism or just severe mental immaturity. This, I thought then, was too exploitative. At that point, only a victim of cancer (or AIDS) was missing from this already uber-dire, emotionally manipulative narrative.
But, as it turned out, I was very wrong. Charlie was, evidently, just a shy, socially awkward, AP-classes attending, extremely gifted and observant student with a dark secret. At least, that how he was described by other people. What?! What does it say about Stephen Chbosky's writing abilities if his supposedly intelligent teen narrator sounds like a 7-year old? If Charlie's writing was reflective of his speech and interactions, how in the world could he become friends with a crowd of cool older kids and even had girlfriends, all of whom thought him petty much the best thing since sliced bread?
I can attribute the popularity of this novel only to the story's great variety of tear-jerking opportunities, teachable moments and life lessons, gently delivered by the ever-so-wise and deep narrator. This isn't even controversial enough to deserve all those bannings.
2 stars for moments of interest of the train-wreck kind.
Clueless. I am clueless. The popularity of this book baffles me even more than the popularity of The Fault in Our Stars. Maybe I really am just a coldhearted person with no feelings.
Amazingly, I actually managed to start The Perks of Being a Wallflower knowing absolutely nothing about it. I've avoided all the reviews and hype over the years, I've purposely put off seeing the movie because I wanted to check out the book first. I knew nothing except that so many people LOVE this book. I was a bit sceptical from the very first page when 15-year-old Charlie's narrative opened with short, choppy, fragmented sentences:
I don't think that there is a favorite kid in our family. There are three of us and I am the youngest. My brother is the oldest. He is a very good football player and likes his car. My sister is very pretty and mean to boys and she is in the middle.
But I perked up at the idea of reading a book by a narrator with obvious learning difficulties and/or autism*. One of my favourite parts of reading is getting to see the world through the eyes of someone whose perspective I might not have fully considered before. So I was willing to overlook the slightly annoying use of immature language and structure because I realised it was needed to get inside the narrator's head. Imagine my surprise and confusion when I discovered that not only does Charlie not have any learning difficulties, but he is actually considered "intelligent beyond his years", is apparently extremely talented and somehow manages to get straight-A grades. What????? And also how?????
It's like I'm missing something. I must be, right? Because to me this seems like nothing more than the usual melodramatic issue book, desperately trying to manipulate my emotions with the subtlety of a million flying bricks. There's suicide, sexual abuse, domestic abuse and homosexuality crammed into the first few chapters. Is that not enough angst for you? Well, wait a few more chapters and we get drugs, incest, fights, first sexual experiences and masturbation, told through the eyes of a guy who sounds about eight but is actually a teenager.
I didn't feel sad or moved or anything so, like I said, maybe this is a character flaw on my part. But I'm tired of reading books where I can feel the author's little voice screaming between the lines "Cry! Look people are dying and it is so sad, cry! Look incest and prejudice and rape, cry!"
I felt nothing. Except maybe manipulated; yeah, I definitely felt manipulated.
* A few people pointed out in the comments that those with autism can actually be very intelligent and I felt the need to mention it here. While reading, I wondered if Charlie might be autistic because dyslexia is common among those with autism, but I don't want to lead anyone to believe that autism denotes a lack of intelligence - in many cases, the opposite is true.
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THIS BOOK ALWAYS BRINGS ME SO MANY FEELS. 3rd time re-reading it and I still feel infinite.
As much as people say it, this really is one of my favorite books of all time. MTV promoted it, it got a lot of press, so many people shun it and say it is overrated. I disagree.
I didn't read this book until last year, when I turned 21. My boyfriend owned it, it seemed like a quick read, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Main character Charlie is loveable from the first sentence out of his mouth. There are endless quoteable quotes in this book that had me folding the page over so I could write them down later. Charlie has an honest innocence to him yet such an intense depth and intelligent mind that he is quite the multifaceted character.
While the story has its ups and downs, and really, there isn't a very intense plot, the reader is somehow sucked into Charlies head sharing his first kiss, his feelings toward his new friends, his feelings towards literature and music. He is naiive about so many things, and his bluntness made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. He not only deals with issues like love, but also having a gay friend, dealing with death, and sexual assault, but also sharing his love of music and literature, which I think are two things that are being lost on youth today.
I would give this book to every teenage boy and girl I knew. While Charlie isn't exactly a excellent role model, he does show that being different is O.K. and that friends come in all kinds of packages...to stay true to yourself. These things matter.