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BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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 book be like – CRY, BITCH.

After 50 pages I would have written that The Perks of Being a Wallflower was poorly written, boring and tasteless.

After 100 pages I would have clapped because really, wow, Stephen Chbosky really did want to tick all the strong issues boxes, haha. /sarcasm.

After 150 pages I would have needed a drink to handle all that fucking CRYING and talking and the total LACK of any attempt to actually DEAL with the issues piling up. No, three pages of so-called teenage philosophy isn’t enough.

In the end I’m just pissed off by the plain MANIPULATION that is this book and by the way the last issue is taken care of – FUCK YOU, BOOK. No, really. Fuck you. I am very sorry for all the people on Earth who loved this book, and know that this review isn’t about you. I started The Perks of Being a Wallflower expecting to love it.

As it is, I cannot.

Probably because it contains what I hate the most in Literature, this being :

– The blatant use of manufactured drama trying to force me to feel things. It doesn’t work like that. You do NOT involve a reader by creating an unrealistic overkill of serious issues, as if they were trying to outbid each other. There’s a moment when I just don’t care anymore. This is manipulative and disrespectful.

It reads like a catalogue of the worst situations possible.

– The fact that the sub-mentioned issues aren’t given the time of a day and are just there. Nope. And because I know that people will tell me that it’s realistic because Charlie is only 15, and that he can’t analyze these issues in depth : yes, he cannot. THAT IS THE POINT. Why include so many issues – teen pregnancy, drinking, drugs, sexual identity, abuse, and so on – if they’re only there to fill the book? WHY? I am the first to admit that we mustn’t take teenagers for fools and that YA novels should picture these issues. But COME. ON. What is even the point if they’re only brushed off? Is telling them that it happens to other people is going to make them feel better? Is telling them that we can ignore problems because everything is going to get better anyway (because fairies, I guess) A GOOD THING? I don’t think so. And yes, when something like abuse is dealt in TWO pages, I do get the feeling that the book is telling me to move the fuck on.

Also, that “beautiful” sentence, “we accept the love we think we deserve”? When applied to the situation? (view spoiler) Please don’t.*

* I am not thick, of course I understand what this sentence is trying to say… But again, empty words. I would have probably loved it as a 14 years old. Now I’m just like, AND THEN WHAT?

Repetitive and choppy sentences all the way through, with a main character who can’t decide if he’s 10 or 40 or, I don’t know, 5. I HATED the writing, I really did.

– Characters who don’t feel like teenagers at all – mainly Sam and Patrick, the super hipsters philosophers *snorts*

The book be like – NOW SMILE, BITCH.

► I wish I would have read another Gary D. Schmidt novel instead. Overrated.

BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.

A beautiful, introspective journey from a young boy’s perspective, where watching from the sidelines is his way of life. Many of us go through High School with no worries at all. We walk through the halls with a purpose and we seek out our friends for both comfort and support, never once stopping to think about those who are silently standing in the background with no one to talk to at all-that’s Charlie.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.

Entering High School, into uncharted waters where kids can be as cruel as they are ignorant, Charlie has no friends to speak of and wanders the halls with no direction, no laughter, and no joy. He silently observes his peers with a keen eye, all the while wishing them the best-even if he doesn’t know them. And that’s the thing about Charlie…people can laugh and insult him, but he never once wishes ill on anybody. Forever a sweet boy who wants nothing but the best of circumstances for every single person, we are drawn to his selfless personality and adorable vulnerability.

I decided then that when I met someone I thought was as beautiful as the song, I should give it to that person. And I didn’t mean beautiful on the outside. I meant beautiful in all ways. So, I was giving it to Sam.

Things are tough for Charlie, but then he takes a chance at a football game and sits next to the outspoken senior, Patrick, and with Patrick there’s Sam, his stepsister. Charlie becomes enamored of Sam, of her beauty, her personality, and ultimately, her spontaneity. That’s when Charlie gets that giddiness again, that willingness to participate, to step off the wall and enter the crowd. He starts to see the light again, but with that light comes revelations that will both help and hinder Charlie, even lead to something that he has long since forgotten and buried deep inside-something that can alter the course of his life forever.

So, I looked up, and we were in this giant dome like a glass snowball, and Mark said that the amazing white stars were really only holes in the black glass of the dome, and when you went to heaven, the glass broke away, and there was nothing but a whole sheet of star white, which is brighter than anything but doesn’t hurt your eyes. It was vast and open and thinly quiet, and I felt so small.

Written in letter form to a ‘friend’, we get to see the progression of the story through Charlie’s eyes as he writes to someone we don’t know. Through this method of delivery, we are spoken to with a familiarity that is both relatable and funny, making it easy to dive into the story and lessen the blow of the tragedies being simultaneously thrust at us. I felt incredibly sad while also undeniably happy and hopeful, making for a tremulous mix of emotions that gripped me with their intensity and helped me to fall even harder in love with this story.

In the silence, I remembered this one time that I never told anybody about. The time we were walking. Just the three of us. And I was in the middle. I don’t remember where we were walking to or where we were walking from. I don’t even remember the reason. I just remember walking between them and feeling for the first time that I belonged somewhere.

I didn’t know how I would feel about this book. It’s one of those stories that is 100% controversial-you either fall in love with Charlie and his candid telling of events, or you can’t stand the book and didn’t find it relatable at all. I’d like to think people go into the story with an open-mindedness that leaves room for less harsh judgement, where they can let the story unfold as it is meant to be told-a young, confused boy who is only trying to fit in and find himself learning what is socially acceptable and what you should and should not do. He is branching out and trying to be someone new, someone who makes friends and keeps them, all the while reading and writing and expressing himself in both letters and english reports to keep him grounded and connected to the world, to something bigger than himself.

I know that I brought this all on myself. I know that I deserve this. I’d do anything not to be this way. I’d do anything to make it up to everyone.

This story is not for everybody. I can admit that. What I will say, though, is that if you are looking for something bigger than yourself, and if you really want to branch out and read an inspirational story about overcoming a constant struggle that is crippling and suffocating, this is a great book for you. It is sweet, passionate, and innocent, never once trying to be something it is not. Charlie is an amazing voice and I grew to adore and cherish his character. And as he wishes for every single soul to be happy even at the expense of himself, I will wish him the same-it’s all I did during the whole book. I wished for his happily ever after, and I hope you’ll do the same.

When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was. Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

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