The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
genre: young adult
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 year 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.
Why I Chose the Book
Emma Watson. I know you can’t judge an actress by her role, but I am in love with Hermione Granger. I’ve also read some very mature and poignant quotes from Emma, so at least for the foreseeable future, I will be seeing every movie she’s in. As of this year, I decided that I must read the book before seeing the movie. So in a roundabout way, Emma Watson is the reason I bought Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I like the writing style. It’s not what I expected given that I picked it so I could watch an Emma Wastson movie. We read letters from Charlie to an unknown person, a stranger he’s been told is a good listener, who he has never met and does not expect to write back. It initially reminded me of the style of Dracula but without the suspense.
I had to look up the definition of Wallflower because I wasn’t convinced it was being used correctly in the novel. According to Google, a wallflower is “a person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party.” I have described myself as a wallflower as I considered it a synonym for introvert. I don’t like large groups and would prefer to stay to the side of the room than be the center of attention.
Chbosky seems to define Wallflower as someone as a pushover who is an observer of their life with little to no free will. Charlie is so amicable that when his gay friend is hurt about a breakup and kisses straight Charlie, Charlie goes with it to be nice. Charlie is the definition of passive. Things happen to him; he neither pushes his life nor the story forward in any way. When he observes a rape, he does nothing about it except tell his friends, who in turn don’t do tell anyone. If the next book I read involves teenagers having sex, I’m stopping in the middle.
I was so bored with the book that despite finishing it almost a month ago, I haven’t sought out the movie.
Pass. It’s not one star, but I didn’t care for it. Though I think some teens may relate to it, I’ve read what I consider to be better coming-of-age novels. Maybe it’s because I was not one to experiment or even be offered drugs or alcohol growing up that I don’t relate to any of the main characters. I’d expected to since I was nerdy and on the outskirts of high school. Like Charlie, I found a close group of friends that accepted me, but the similarities end there.
The entire time I was listening in my car, the dashboard read:
The Perks of Being…
It made me smile.
2 out of 5 stars
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