Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: February 1st, 1999
Source: Borrowed from friend

My Rating: 5/5

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 marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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. (Summary from Goodreads)

Trying to write a review of this novel is going to be like trying to describe the indescribable. How can I aptly capture the weight in my heart, or the airy feeling I felt when it ended? It's impossible. I feel deeply moved by this novel, and that’s going to be hard to get across in words.

I have wanted to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower for years. I kept putting it on my to-read list but never actually reading it. I ended up borrowing it from a family friend and I’ve had it on my shelf for almost two years and never read it (don’t worry, she knew it was there and said it was fine). Finally, once I realized how soon the movie was coming out, I picked it up and fell in love. Holy cow this book. This book was gorgeous.

I love when I connect to a book, and I really did with Perks. Now, my life and situation are much different than Charlie’s but the way we think was extremely similar. See, I’m a thinker. I think about everything. It sometimes gets me into trouble, but I believe it can also let me see the subtle beauty in life. I often will be sitting in my car, look out at the people in vehicles beside me and wonder where they’re going. Everyone in those cars has a destination, a purpose, a place to be. Are they happy to be going there? Sad? I always wonder. Just like my mind is boggled by the shear amount people in the world. Each one of those people having parents, and lives, and goals, and secrets. I love to think about things like that, and it was amazing to hear Charlie speak of it too. I felt that wondering piece of my heart light up in joy. But I also liked that he was questioned for living in his head. That he needed to participate in life, not just imagine it.

Perks was a beautiful coming-of-age tale. Charlie is a very innocent character, and it’s really refreshing. Not only that, he seems to maintain his innocence, or at least his hope in a brighter future, throughout the novel. He was just such a genuinely good person. He just wanted to see everyone be happy. I also loved his totally quirky, troubled friends Sam and Patrick. There was so much to them, lots that remains a mystery, which makes for a great couple of characters. I'm not usually a fan of letter formatting. It's a bit of a passive style of writing and, for me at least, I find it can lessen the impact of the story. Not in this case though. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, reading Charlie's letters was a true depiction of what was going on inside his head. It was Charlie pouring out his heart in ink and I don’t think the story could have been told any other way.

I could probably go on about this book for a very long time, because I honestly just love it. It was a beautiful story, filled with gorgeous characters and haunting secrets. Read it. It will stun you too.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads  

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