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Presented by State Library Victoria

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Book Review

I swear there is no person on Earth that has never heard of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It seems to be a pop culture icon that has encapsulated so many readers across so many generations and across so many countries. Me, as an avid reader, made the decision to pick this book up and see if I would enjoy it. In all honesty, I was quite divided at first, considering the fact that I read very little per day (even though it was 231 pages and a quick read). Last night was when I really delved into Stephen Chbosky’s novel and could really appreciate it fully. It’s that kind of book that you simply cannot read in broken up chunks. It demands your full attention, thus from reader to reader, I definitely recommend for you to read it in one sitting if possible.

The book follows fifteen year old Charlie as he navigates his way through high school. Although there is no defined plot line, the book takes us on a journey through Charlie’s interpersonal relations with others and his experience (as the title suggests) as a wallflower.

In all honesty, I have no idea how to make sense of my own thoughts and feelings towards The Perks of Being a Wallflower for starters, I enjoyed reading about the formation of (Charlie’s) identity and his endeavours as a teenager in the process of growing up. We got glimpses into his school life with “Bill” and his feelings towards his friends Sam, Patrick and Mary Elizabeth. Each character had a different sort of relationship with Charlie which made the book fresh, new and interesting despite its setting of 1991/1992 America.

Another thing worth mentioning was the fact that we had an unreliable narrator. It is stated in the very first letter Charlie wrote to their “friend” who remains anonymous throughout the duration of the book. Charlie also changes the names and information of the characters for the purpose of these letters. It is clearly stated that “[Charlie] will call people by different names or generic names because [he] doesn’t want you to find [him].” It thus suggests that we, as a reader would never understand the truth of the storyline enclosed within Charlie’s letters. I thought that in itself, was quite an interesting trait that gave this book it’s own special flair.

All that being said, what really made this book a four star read for me instead of a five star read was definitely due to the writing style. While I was reading it, I believed the writing was quite simplistic which prompted me to wish for more descriptive sentences to highlight Charlie’s thoughts and feelings. Now looking back on this, I believe that the writing style complimented Charlie’s personality as a thoughtful and reserved sort of student. That I suppose also makes this story extremely unique and appealing to a wide variety of audiences.

All in all, a unique and dynamic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some parts I must admit did feel long and boring, which I believe is due to the writing style that failed to intrigue me in some bits.

ACTUAL RATING: 3.8 STARS

4 comments

sekhmet

I've been meaning to read this for a while, I guess it does sound good but I think the main reason I want to read it is because so many people liked it.

14th Jul, 20
sylvs

That was my reason too! I just thought I'll see what the hype was all about :)

14th Jul, 20
sekhmet

In reply to sylvs

Exactly!

14th Jul, 20
sylvs

In reply to sekhmet

:D

14th Jul, 20