Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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

Recommended to: teens

Rating: 10/10

Setting: somewhere in the Eastern U.S. during the 90's

  • Frequent swearing.
  • Sex is not graphically depicted, but is a very big part of the book.
  • Frequent substance use, much of it by underage teenagers. 
  • Violence is infrequent, but also a pretty key part of the book. There is at least one school fight and a couple examples of physical abuse. 
  • Overall, this is for mature readers. Yes, I know I recommended it for teens, but this is a pretty heavy book in more way than one, so be prepared for it. 
Description (not mine): Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix 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. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those books that you constantly hear about. Honestly, if you haven't had to sit through at least one person singing its praises, then I suspect you may be living under a rock (in which case please remember to take a Vitamin D supplement). While the fact that it's so popular drew me to the book, it also made me scared to read it. I mean, things never seem to live up to expectation, do they? Wrong. This book is everything you've heard and more, let me tell you. 

Perks is charming, witty, thoughtful, and deeply moving, all due to the most well-written protagonist in recent memory, Charlie. Observant, yet caring and unassuming, Charlie paints an intimate picture of what it's like to grow up and try to live happily by sharing what he sees in the people around him. His narrative is simple and a bit reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, but it's written in the most indescribably perfect style, something that will probably never be replicated. 

Sad, but ultimately hopeful, Perks ends in such a way that leaves you thoughtful and emotional for hours afterwards (a good kind of emotional; I promise). It shows the reader the importance of being more than just a bystander in your own life and that truly loving someone requires you to first take care of yourself, the main reasons why I highly recommend this to teenagers. 

Overall, I hope that every young person finds this in their hands at least once; trust me, it will stun you. Enjoy!

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