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The Perks of Being a Wallflower | What YA Reading?

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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.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have picked up this book. I chose it originally because it was on sale at Walmart, and it’s relatively short and I was in the mood for that kind of thing, and the movie’s out and it’s starring Logan Lerman, so I have to see it,  obviously, but who wants to see a movie before reading the book? That ruins everything. So I bought it. And I read it. And oh my God, my mind is blown.

I’ll be terribly straightforward with you: I love this book. Many have critiqued it based on the characters’ emotional sensitivity, and the writing — it’s true, the writing isn’t that great– and Charlie’s apparent naivety. And although I’m not denying the fact that The Perks of Being a Wallflower does contain these elements, I’m being completely honest with you when I say that these so-called ‘low points’ only add to this novel’s charm.

Because The Perks of Being a Wallflower isn’t perfect. It doesn’t claim to be. This book is about being a teenager; it’s about growing up; it’s about life. And if you think that anyone could portray any of these things through rose glasses, then you’re in for a serious letdown. However, I can guarantee you that you that you’ll be able to relate to one scene or another of this novel. Be it the exploration of drugs and alcohol, of sexuality, of the selfish parts of love, of one’s capacity for forgiveness or of observing life versus “participating” in it, you are in for a journey that you will never forget.

As for Charlie, I agree that he’s rather innocent, given his age. I agree that he’s socially awkward and has a hard time putting two and two together. But he’s a self-proclaimed wallflower– what more do you want? He’s such a good kid, too. All he wants in the world is for his friends and family to be happy. He’s earnest, and honest, and sweet. He always means well. I think that it’s safe to say that I have a fictional crush.

Patrick and Sam are other favourites of mine. The thing that I love the most about them is that they’re always completely authentic about their emotions; they say what they mean, and they mean what they say. In a novel filled to the brim with all sorts of drama, you really learn to appreciate that.

I can’t believe that this book takes place in 1991. I can understand why, although originally published in 1999, it’s only now a bestseller; Hollywood tends to do that. What shocks me is how applicable everything about Charlie and his journey remain. There is no doubt in my mind that this novel will be a classic among teens for a long time to come.

When I said that this book blew my mind, the ending is the scene to which I was referring. Although I was sad to see it end, this book definitely finished on the right note. It’s bound to make an impression on all those who read it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower made me feel infinite. Thank you, Stephen Chbosky. 5/5 stars.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

 

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  1. Pingback: Anna and the French Kiss | What YA Reading?

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