Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

by Stephen Chbosky

Paperback, 232 pages
February 2 2009 by Pocket Books


Details from Goodreads:

This 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. We may not know 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 The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

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


"I just wish God or my parents or Sam or my sister or someone would just tell me what's wrong with me.Just tell me how to be different in a way that makes sense. To make this all go away. And disappear. I know that's wrong because it's my responsibility, and I know that things get worse before they get better, but this is a worse that feels too big."

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.

We don’t know where he’s from, we don’t know his real name and we don’t know who he is writing to, but we know his whole life.

It is not the best thing I've ever read but I say it is amazing that it makes the book unforgettable in some ways. This book is beautiful and weird in equal amounts. From the start it seems that Charlie's voice, the protagonist, and his unique way of thinking and acting keep me bothered but it explains as the story unfolds via the letters he made. He struggle to figure out the world by tends to stands on the outside of life, making observations about how life doesn't always make sense.

I really like Charlie even though he lives in his head a lot. I guess that's what it means by being a wallflower. Charlie is a very real person with a very true voice and, if you can understand his story I think he tells a pretty universal tale, however I hope not really. You see, Charlie doesn't realize this until the end of the book, but he was sexually abused by his Aunt Helen and he blocked out that memory.

I think that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a good book to read if you feel alone or different or weird, which I think pretty much all teenagers feel at some time or another. I think that it is even better to read if you are not a teenager because then you can be reminded of those times when you are reading it but also realize that things do get better when you get older. Small things seem like such a big deal to Charlie and his friends, but that really is how it is for most of us. We tend to live in pretty small worlds that are mostly circumscribed. I cannot deny that I, being one of Charlie’s friends will surely drag him into the dance floor and enjoy the dance rather than sit on the sidelines. "Participate" is the word like what Bill said.

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