The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

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So, with the movie just released I finally got around to reading the book. I blame my law degree, it was annoyingly time-consuming. But if I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be “deep”. It’s slightly indie, slightly weird – but in the best kind of way. It’s the type of book that has a cult following and after reading I can understand why. It is filled with great book and song references, and fantastic “deep & meaningful” quotes that now litter the Internet (see example below). Although it did put me off slightly when I opened the book and realised it was all written as a series of letters, the story was engaging so I soon forgot and got into it.

Basically, the story is about Charlie, who is starting is first year of high school and is scared. He’s had a rough life really, and he’s also a genius. He cries a lot and finds it difficult to participate. The letters chronicle his first year of high school – from meeting his first friends to his first experience with a girl (how badly things can go wrong in that department). He explains everything and its clear that he is a wallflower; he notices a lot more about his surroundings because he doesn’t participate but instead sits back and watches. Throughout the book he tries to participate more, and with he help of his new friends he is able to.

I think this is a book that everyone can relate to. We can all remember at least one instance where we have felt alone, or out of place, and think that maybe there’s something wrong with us. Charlie feels like that most of the time, and to read his way of getting through it is very comforting in a way. He tells it like it is –

Even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad…I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don’t know. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think the only perspective is to really be there. Because its okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.

In other words, this book makes you think. And a book that makes you think is always a good thing. This is the type of book that should be read in high schools because its important to know that everyone has felt the way Charlie did at least once. Charlie also gets some great advice from other characters in the book like

You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.

So here’s to feeling infinite. And here’s to a great read.

9/10

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On a side note, here is a list of books mentioned in The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I’ve read a couple but I’m going to try and read them all. Look out for more reviews soon!

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