Before reading, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, I had read a few reviews about the book and felt that opinion about the book was truly divided. While some really loved the book, others felt that it was annoying and over-rated. So, I decided to read the book and understand why there were so many mixed reviews about this book.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is written from the point of view of Charlie who has just begun his high school. A shy and introvert teenager, Charlie is trying to cope with the suicide of his friend, Michael. In order to lessen the grief and pain that he is undergoing, he shares his story through a series of letters to an anonymous reader known as ‘Friend’. Through these letters Charlie tells us everything about what happens in his life from his love for reading to his crushes and to his new found friendships with Patrick and Samantha. Dealing with diverse sensitive topics like drugs, love, sexuality, childhood abuse, etc., I felt that the book truly captures what teenagers feel like while growing up and how with some patience and sensibility they can deal with their problems in a more mature and sensible manner. Written in a strong and poignant manner, I really liked how the characters have been etched out by the author. So overall yes, I really enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower to a great extent and feel that it is an extremely good book for young and old people alike. (It goes without saying that I am in that category of people who loved The Perks of Being A Wallflower as opposed to those who did not like it.)
Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the fact that Charlie was a passionate reader who read books across various categories. I liked the fact that through this novel, the author highlighted some major books that should be read by everyone at least once during their lifetime. So from classics like To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee to The Catcher in the Eye by F. Scott Fitzgerald to The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand to Walden by Henry David Thoreau, each book is highlighted in a manner that makes the readers who have not read the book, to pick it up at the next available opportunity. In a similar manner, I love the part how music plays a vital role in the life of Charlie and his friends. Good books and amazing music: what a truly fantastic combination!!!
So as Charlie’s story progresses, we gain a more deeper and better understanding of his life, his problems and why he became the person that he is today. There were many levels on which I connected to Charlie and few where I did not. But then that is expected as Charlie is not a character that has definite shades of black and white. As with all us, Charlie is complex and that is exactly what adds to the beauty and charm of the book. In short, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower deals with all the ups and downs of Charlie’s life and definitely stands out as one of the best coming of age books.
So would I recommend this book? Yes, if you are a teenager and feel that life is much more complicated than it looks. Yes, if you are an introvert and a misfit who feels that there are few people who understand you in this world. Yes, if you are struggling with life and want to overcome it by drawing inspiration from the life of another person!!! This book is perfect for youngsters above 14 years especially those who want a book that mirrors their problems and situations in a realistic yet engaging manner.
About Stephen Chbosky
Born on January 25, 1970 Stephen Chbosky is an American novelist, screenwriter and film director. After growing up in Pittsburgh, he graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995 and later even won the Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.
Stephen Chbosky however gained world-wide acclaim for his debut novel The Perks of Being A Wallflower which was published in 1999. By 2000, it was on MTV Book’s best selling title and by May 2013, almost two million copies had been printed. He has also written the screenplay and directed a film by the same name. The Perks of Being A Wallflower released in 2012, starring Logan Lerman, Erza Miller and Emma Watson. The author was nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the 2013 Writers Guild Awards. Also, the film won the 2013 Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature and 2013 People’s Choice award for Best Dramatic Movie.
Additionally, Stephen Chbosky is also the recipient for the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Everything Divided as well as a participant in the Sundance Institute’s filmmakers’ lab for his current project, Fingernails and Smooth Skin. He currently resides in New York.
- “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
- “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
- “It’s like when my doctor told me the story of these two brothers whose dad was a bad alcoholic. One brother grew up to be a successful carpenter and never drank. The other brother ended up being a drinker as bad as his dad was. When they asked the first brother why he didn’t drink, he said that after he saw what it did to his father, he could never bring himself to even try it. When they asked the other brother, he said that he guessed he learned how to drink on his father’s knee. So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
- “I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have.”
- “It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”
- “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.”
- “It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”
- “This moment will just be another story someday.”
- “She wasn’t bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time.”
- “And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”
- “And all the books you’ve read have been read by other people. And all the songs you’ve loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that’s pretty to you is pretty to other people. and that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing ‘unity.”
- “Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.”
- “You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”
- “If you care about somebody, you should want them to be happy. Even if you wind up being left out.”
- “What’s your favorite book? “The last one I read.”
- “I have finished To Kill a Mockingbird. It is now my favorite book of all time, but then again, I always think that until I read another book.”
(Note: All images have been taken from Google. In case they have created/clicked/edited by you, please let me know so that I can credit you for it.)
Overall, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a deeply intriguing, satisfying and compelling story. So even if you think that you are nowhere like Charlie in the book, read it for the simple yet heartfelt writing. And what’s more with less than 250 pages, this book can be read and completed over a lazy weekend.
So did you like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower? What did you feel after reading the book? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you felt about the book.