Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Seriously though, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was fantastic and I actually can't wait to reread it, which I know I will eventually. Definitely earns 5 out of 5 stars and a spot on my shelf along with the other novels that I think everyone should read in their lifetime.

PS- This is probably the only time I'll use a movie tie-in cover instead of the original. But Emma Watson is on it, so it's an exception I'm glad to make. She's purdy.

From the publisher:
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. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has become a modern classic.

     The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives or to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music—when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive.

     Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.


My thoughts:
This pretty much sums up high school life in a nutshell, and in such a way as to be funny, poignant, and moving all at the same time. Nobody would have enjoyed reading about high school as much as from Chbosky's modern classic. Charlie is an emotional, sensitive character that borders on being obnoxious and robotic, but because we the reader can see the inner workings of his mind, have a deeper understanding and more sympathy for him than the other characters who only see how he behaves. Patrick and Sam introduce Charlie to a world beyond his books and his mind; they bring him into the real world of school, and friends, and love.

Told through a series of letters written by Charlie to an anonymous reader, you feel more drawn in than if you simply read through a standard first/third person perspective. How can't you feel more for these characters than by reading about them as if you were a close friend? Then the ending comes along, and basically just tears you apart to read about. Charlie is quite odd, but he is yet another of my favorite protagonists to date.

I just finished reading this book this morning on my way into New York, and I spent the rest of the commute thinking about what my high school days were like. Definitely less drugs, pregnancy scares, and tragic deaths and unfortunate events, but Chbosky captured the confusion and isolation that I for one felt when I first started high school (of course, I was a bit less challenged in social situations than Charlie, so I worked it out a bit faster). I remember my first crush, and heartbreak, and awkward dances and parties, and it was much more entertaining to read about them in a book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is easy to read, easy to quote, and easy to identify with, and I hope everyone who reads this blog gives the book a chance if they haven't done so already.

Justin :)

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