The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Paperback, 213 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books
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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.
I have heard about this book for years. And I have wanted to read it for years. But never really had the motivation. I am not a huge fan of contemporary fiction so just kinda kept putting it off. And I am kinda glad I did. Because now I have a better understanding of some of the things discussed. Somehow I went into this mostly blind. I knew there were three friends, one was gay, and that someone died. I didn’t realize the death would be in the first few pages. I was one the edge of my seat, scared that someone else was going to die at any time. The book is told in a series of letters that Charlie sends to an anonymous person. One, who he didn’t want to feel like he pulled at random. In a way animinity makes it seem like the letters are written to the reader. You feel more included in that way. These letters tell the story of Charlie’s freshman year of high school. We the reader see the things he fears, the things he love, and the things he hates. Charlie is honestly brilliant. He is given book read by Bill that I didn’t read until college.
Chbosky, doesn’t hold back in this book. While it is only 213 pages long it covers so much ground. In a book which for the time in the late 90’s would have been kinda ground breaking. He covers, love, sex , relationships, abortion, abuse, homosexuality, homophobia, anxiety/ panic attacks, assault, drugs, medications, hospitalizations, loss, suicide, just- just everything! But even though he managed to cover so many things, none of it felt cheezy. None of it felt fake, it all seemed so real, so genuine. Like a few other books I have read this year it felt real, and raw, and beautiful. I want to watch the movie and trust it will do it justice, I just. I want it to be done well. I wanted to read the book first so I haven’t seen the movie either. (Classic book snob moments) I loved this book. Go read it for yourself please if you haven’t go read it now.
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A lover of words, reading and writing.