The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is starting high school and he’s nervous. He’s never exactly fit in. He’s not a nerd, but he isn’t popular. Charlie is just there. Charlie is a wallflower who is living a life and trying to run from it. As Charlie navigates through high school he writes letters to an unknown person about his life. He meets and befriends Patrick and Sam at a football. They introduce Charlie to the world of first dates, mix tapes, family drama, friends, sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
You know when you buy a book and think to yourself ”Wow this is gonna be great!” You’re worried it might be that amazing or it could fail miserably and disappoint you or just be that average book in the mass of the others. I had that feeling before starting this book. It’s been forever since I read a book like The Perks. I was obsessed with books like this when I was in sixth grade, but stopped reading them. When I was on that obsession kick I had come across The Perks of Being a Wallflower several thousand times and thought about reading it, but never picked it up. What really prompted me to want to read the book was the movie and then I started seeing great reviews for this book and I was sold and knew I just had to have it. I got it and I don’t great paying $12 at Books a Million for a book with a little over 200 pages. This book was worth it. So worth it. This book won’t be for everyone. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is different and I loved every single minute of it. I loved the quotes and Charlie, Sam, and Patrick made me laugh a lot.
The main male character is Charlie. Charlie is a wallflower and can I just say that he is absolutely adorakable! I mean this kid knows absolutely nothing and is so socially awkward, but he manages to be a believable character. I loved reading Charlie’s letters to his unknown pen pal. I connected with Charlie because I am somewhat of a wallflower. Charlie is easy to relate to in ways that are real. I’m not able to relate to Charlie’s emotional and physical trauma, but I was able to other things in his life. Charlie is one of those rare characters that has a story that made me think about it for days actually weeks. I’m still in shock over it even though I knew it was going to happen. The signs were there but the ending was unexpected.
Swoon Worthy Scale: 9
The Villain- Let’s just skip right past this one before I start to rage and scream about the unfairness of this situation and anyone who has experienced this from an adult.
Villain Scale: 8.5
The people that Charlie meets along the way to finding himself are what really made this book for me. We have Patrick, the goofball who always put a smile on my face. He’s the kind of friend that’s always there for you and I love Patrick. I also like that he had a story in Charlie’s story, too. Patrick has a presence and he makes it enjoyable even when I cried for him. Then there’s Patrick’s stepsister, Sam. Charlie is hopelessly in love with Sam and I actually really liked her character. Charlie and Sam have a very fun relationship, but it also has its ups and downs. I’m still not sure what happens between Sam and Charlie in the future because the possibilities are broad and endless. I kind of want to keep it that way. There’s Mary Elizabeth, Charlie’s first girlfriend. This is where Charlie starts to show that he is a guy and I liked that he was honest even though it hurt people along the way because Mary Elizabeth wouldn’t have moved on and would still be with Charlie and Charlie would be miserable. There’s Craig, who I never liked and still don’t. He eventually becomes Sam’s boyfriend and is present for quite a bit of the novel. There’s Candace, Charlie’s sister. I liked her presence in the novel even though it wasn’t great. She had just as much as a story in Charlie’s letters as everyone else. There’s Bob, Sam and Patrick’s stoner friend. I actually thought he was funny and I liked him. Then there was Bill, Charlie’s English teacher and a big role in Charlie’s coping. Bill gives Charlie many books and I think that in a way those books got Charlie through a lot. One of my favorite things about the characters in this book is that they are all insightful and say at least one thing that make you stop and think.
Character Scale: 10
This book isn’t for everybody. Some people won’t like the style, maybe they won’t connect, or they went in with too high of expectations. I went into the Perks with expectations but with absolutely no idea of how I wanted the book to be. I was surprised because, yes my expectations were high, but I also didn’t have a certain area of where I wanted The Perks of Being a Wallflower to be. For me this book was perfect and I just embrace it and I’ll probably re-read it one day.
Now the movie is absolutely amazing. If you watch the movie before you read the book chances are you’ll be disappointed because there’s a lot missing and a lot added. I absolutely love the movie and in my opinion it’s better than the book because there is more Patrick. I also received a clear understanding of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is great in its own way and so is the book. I just can’t compare them because I love them both equally but for different things.
Cover Thoughts: Call me crazy but I like the cover. I don’t love it, but I think it fits and that’s why I like it.