Oct 19, 2012

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: The edition I have was published in February 2nd 2009
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 231 (paperback)
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 years 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 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. But Charlie 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.
This book sat on my to-read pile for months. I picked it up because I planned to watch the movie, but now it's not showing here anymore *cries*

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my first epistolary novel. The letters were written by Charlie to an anonymous "friend" whose identity he hinted at towards the end, but I'm not good with hints. Anyway, in his letters, Charlie talked about every facet of his secluded life and how it slowly changed as he tried to "participate".

I think one of the reasons why this book is as known as it is today is because it really hit home for most of its readers. Including me, I admit. While I may not have experienced yet most of what Charlie did - dating, sex, drugs, infinities in a tunnel, and that big shocker in the ending - I still connected with his thoughts, especially on family, friends, and school. I wish I had a Bill, though. That would've made my high school life richer and more fun.

One of the best things about this book is the trio of Charlie, Sam, and Patrick. I really liked how open and understanding their friendship was. 

Another is how real the characters were, major or minor. Chbosky did a very good job of mixing together real individuals and molding them into each of his characters.

But, of course, my favorite would have to be Charlie. I've always loved smart characters, and I've read quite a number of books with smart characters, but what made Charlie different was his outstanding introspection. I should try that sometime.

I'm writing this review after a reread, and I can't believe how the first time around, I didn't understand the ultimate surprise at the end, because, really, it's there written clearly, staring me straight in the eye. But even if I got it before, I would've read it again still, because The Perks of Being a Wallflower is simply one of those rare books that gives its readers a new experience every time it is opened.

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.
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)


  1. I've heard more and more about this one lately--probably because of the movie. But this is the first review for it I've actually stumbled upon. So thank you!

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