The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: A Book Review

Book Cover WARNING: This may contain spoilers that could trigger violent reactions leading to unwanted attention and weird side-glances by humans. BUT HEY! You could read as far as I tell you where the spoiler-free talk is done.

I have read this book a couple of times now,  listened to an audio-book and watched the movie and then re-read it again. And I swear, by the words of Charlie, that in those moments I felt infinite!  So basically this one belongs to the all-time favorite books of my life! Now let me give you the summary taken from goodreads :

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 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 first time I read this book was back when I was a freshie (I think) in college. It was the first epistolary novel I have read and I was quite curious about it. Then I read the first line of Charlie’s letter:

Dear Friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me. I didn’t enclose a return address for the same reason.

This first few lines of Charlie’s letter did it for me. It tells me that this book deals with some deeper issues. That the subject of sleeping with someone is a touchy subject. That Charlie is yet again another insightful young man who will teach you lessons about life. So I did not realize that I got hooked into Charlie’s letter and life up until I was in the middle and could not put the book down any longer. Also, in a way I can relate to Charlie as someone so shy and introvert (I am in a way). What he writes in his letters makes me think about living instead of just existing. Just when Bill told him to “participate“, that actually got me thinking. 79672-Brace-Yourself-the-Spoiler-is-JC12 So  Bill, Charlie’s mentor who ended up being his friend. I am fond of him because he is not just the coolest and awesom-est teacher but because he is actually Charlie’s motivator. He acknowledges Charlie’s talent and he pushes him to do better. And like everybody else, he’s got dreams and failures but it didn’t get him down. Being not able to actually realize his dream in New York shows that life actually doesn’t lead you to where your car is heading to and that its okay. That these again are “plans” yet to be edited still. But  hey,  what’s amazing is that he helps someone else’s dreams be realized.

Then we have Sam and Patrick who plays the important role of being Charlie’s stabilizer. Sam, Charlie’s ultimate crush, has been this wonderful protector of Charlie. At the latter part of the book it says that she was being raped by a friend of her dad and that she care for Charlie enough to give him his first kiss by someone who he actually likes.She tries to make Charlie realize that the high regard she gives her was too much and that Charlie should find someone else suitable and less messed-up for him. And Patrick, whose only fault was loving someone who is embarrassed of showing it to the world because they are both guys. Charlie and him becomes the best of friends who comforts each other and understands each other enough to be with them at all costs. They see themselves belonging to this band of misfits along with Charlie.

Charlie, his character is deep and you realize that he is not just some teenager ranting about his life and his freshman year. You realize that Charlie more than anyone else has experienced life’s twist and turns. Before I knew that he was molested, I was thinking that something so cruel happened back in his life that made him this messed-up teenager. BUT! That’s just part of the story because from what Charlie said,”we are who we are for a lot of reasons.” You see Charlie, and you see a life that no matter what the universe strikes you, you should focus on those special and beautiful moments. That you should not wallow in your failures and faults but instead be hopeful that these bad moments will pass and that your story is not a sad one and someday you too will feel infinite. 

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One thought on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: A Book Review

  1. Pingback: Single and Proud! | aBookishOwl

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