The Perks Of Being A Wallflower // Stephen Chbosky
Genre: YA contemporary
Published: February 1st 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books
Recommend-worthy: unless you’re ALWAYS INCREDIBLY BEHIND THE TREND like me, you’ve probably already read this book 92 times over. If you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend!
15th August 2016
Dear friend, (all the references)
I FLEW THROUGH THIS NOVEL, AND ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. After many (many, many) recommendations
/threats by Amy @ Every Book You Need To Read And More, I knew I had to jump into Chbosky’s novel straight-a-way in the ReadThemAllThon (which kicked off on the 14th – check out my TBR here!) AND I REALLY WASN’T LET DOWN; IT WAS SO GOOD.
Whilst the plot was entirely simple on paper, it was wholly erratic, depthy and captivating in its presentation. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to summarise a plotline that was so extensive in its coverage of small, detached events. Our protagonist was Charlie, a 16 year old sophomore who had a passion for reading, and could never shy from telling the truth. He took on the advice to become more “involved” in the opportunities around him, and participate in all sorts of new situations. Charlie-the-wallflower (turned “socialite”) after managing to befriend a small, eclectic group of seniors, shares his experiences, down-days and varied memories via the medium of letters, as we follow his progression through the school year.
I think the phrase “coming of age” fits this book down to a tee. Not only does Chbosky brilliantly explore pertinent topics such as mental health, lgbt relationships, abortions, domestic violence, and drug usage, but his writing of it all was just INCREDIBLE. Owing to the first person presentation, I was so drawn to Charlie – he’s probably the most engaging male protagonist that I’ve read in a long while – I can’t see how anyone would be opposed to rooting for him! I also liked Sam very much (and not just because I kept picturing Emma Watson when reading), as well as Patrick, and pretty much the whole of Charlie’s family. Endearing characters are always a big draw for me!
What I liked:
- Charlie’s vision of the world around him was so captivating to read. His bluntness in particular was hilarious – he rolled “my grandfather was fat” off the tongue with no sense of remorse.
- The letter format provided such an insightful recount of events, and I absolutely loved reading a novel in this way. (I’m so pumped for This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire, yes *nods*) – I think it is just refreshing to have something that makes you think “huh, that’s different, and I like it”.
- Though not technically the writing, Emma Watson on the cover is an immediate +10 points for gryffindor.
- Chbosky’s unwavering coverage of themes that are still pertinent to this day was brilliant to read.
- The way Charlie refers to pizza crusts as “pizza bones” pretty much sums up why I like him as a person. THE CHARACTERISATION WAS SO ON POINT.
What I didn’t like so much:
- I know that the blame is misplaced for this one (considering it was published in 1999), but I’m really beginning to dislike the trope of “characters bonding over old, indie music”. Although Perks is falling victim to bad timing, I’ve just read so many novels lately that establish a soundtrack of songs that I a) have never heard of before, and b) will probably never listen to. I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT.
- Although a brutally realistic story 99% of the time, I have to question what kind of teacher would let a student smoke in front of them?!
- *braces for impact* I wasn’t head over heels for the ending – it was slightly underwhelming for me, and I’m not sure I’m keen on how such a captivating plot-line was brought to a close.
“Craig said the problem with things is that everyone is always comparing everyone with everyone and because of that, it discredits people”
Charlie had some CRACKERS of one-liners and philosophical thoughts, don’t get me wrong, but I love this quotation by Craig even if he was one of the more irrelevant characters. It’s just so accurate *basks*.
My second-favourite read of 2016 (and that’s saying something because I seriously doubt anything will manage to knock The Book Thief off that top spot!), and I’d 110% recommend it to everyone.
Whelp, that’s 63 extra CP in the bank, as well as a Celadon Gym badge! Really enjoying the ReadThemAllThon so far (even though I can predict I’m going to stagnate BECAUSE I’M LAZY AND DISORGANISED).