Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Format: Paperback
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Library
Series: NA
Interest: movie, book club

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 am not a contemp / realistic fiction fan – just putting that out there – and I would not have read this book if not for the fact that it was this month’s book club pick (a school book club). I did end up enjoying this book a lot more that I thought I would, but I felt that some elements were very unrealistic.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is written in the form of one-sided letters and this was my favourite aspect of the book. It was actually very refreshing to read a book that did not follow conventional means of writing. Instead of making me feel detached, the letters actually engaged me and made when want to keep reading.

Charlie’s voice was captured extremely well, and apart from him being unrealistically naive, he is a great narrator. Charlie sees and questions everything that goes on around him and makes you wonder about your own life and the lives of others. He takes complicated emotions and turns them into simple facts and ideas; breaking down life and exploring it.

Too much went on in the book which takes place over the course of a year. I felt that almost every teenage problem was dropped onto Charlie and it is almost ridiculous how much stuff happens to him. I felt that the author was trying to convey important messages about different aspects of life but instead of spreading the problems among different people, plastered them all onto the main character.

I felt no emotional connection to the book as I haven’t experienced anything that Charlie went through or know anyone that has. Lots of people have said to me that it is necessary to read this book while growing up but I don’t really see why. The lessons taught were ones which I already knew, though I guess I do see certain people in a different light.

Will I see the movie? Probably. Will I enjoy it? Well I guess I’ll have to let you know.


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