Book Review #2: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Monday, 29 December 2014

Product details:
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Paperback
Length: 232 pages
Published: 2009
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Source: Purchased

Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age and gender; a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles many face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with the devastating fact of his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings. 

Moving swiftly on to how I felt about this book. Well at first I was highly skeptical about this book because although I had heard amazing things about it from reviews/goodreads, it did sound a bit too much to me like the cliched and familiar set up where the loser turns out to be really cool and popular and everyone lives happily ever after. Do not be fooled by this cliche. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful coming of age novel that catches you by surprise every time and will constantly urge you to keep turning the pages. The story is written through a series of letters Charlie sends to an anonymous person and through this we learn about his life, his new friends and especially Charlie's character himself. The one thing I really admired about Chbosky's character of Charlie is that Charlie himself is a huge mystery. With social anxiety, he often gets angry and constantly has flashbacks about his past and quite often his late Aunt Helen, which results in him passing out. In the beginning of the novel, literally the first 2 pages or so we learn that Charlie's only friend shot himself before the novel starts. To imagine that seems almost impossible, and the emotions that are captivated for Charlie's character are introduced immediately which really gripped me to the story.
Moving slightly on, Charlie introduced anonymous to two new characters, Patrick and Sam, whom are outsiders as well in their own way. Patrick is gay and Sam is described as a bit promiscuous. In laments terms, she's described as a slut. Pardon my French. However this remark along with so many others are adapted throughout the book and we truly begin to see not only the development of Charlie's character but also some of the others. Patrick and Sam introduce Charlie to a whole new lifestyle, going to parties, experimenting with drugs, listening to rock and roll music and overall living life to the full. Not that I'm promoting drugs in anyway, but for once it seems that these introductions are a new stage in Charlie's life and for once we see through his eyes that he knows what it means to have truly good friends, a moral that is highly prominent in this book.  What really drew me to this book however was Chbosky's aspect of realism. The motives of the characters are all really authentic and as someone who has just moved past my teenage years, it does in a sense draw me back to the days where I discovered who I was, because after all the teenage years are prime times for teenagers to discover who they really are and where they truly belong, and this novel is no exception to delving into this truth. I must warn you though, this novel does delve quite deeply into real emotional aspects that some younger readers may find disturbing. Themes of depression, social anxiety, self-harming, molestation do come into play quite highly in this book, but they are necessary for Charlie's true story to be told and I do recommend you stick through all of the tears you may shed whilst reading those particular scenes, I know I for one had a huge attachment to Charlie and did shed a tear or two when discovering his traumatic past. 

And that, Ladies and Gentleman is all I'm going to give you for this review of Stephen Chbosky's: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I rate it a full 5/5 stars, a definate recommendation to anyone! I also recommend you watch the movie adaptation, directed by the author himself. It's a beautiful rendition of the book captured by Logan Lerman as Charlie, Emma Watson as Sam and Ezra Miller as Patrick. A wonderful casting that portray's Chbosky's characters brilliantly! Check it out! 

You can buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower book from The Book Depository (here).

Anyway I will catch up with you all soon but in the meantime, I hope you're all having a wonderful Summer.

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