Monday, September 17, 2012
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
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.
A close friend of mine told me to read this book a few months ago, but I was adamant at first. Eventually, I broke down and bought it, reading it soon after. I didn't love it as much as I would have liked to, but it was definitely a remarkable novel. The book doesn't have any extra fluff, hence the short page count, but don't be mistaken, every word on everyone of those pages counted. There wasn't a word wasted, they all had purpose in the main plot or one of the many subplots. The book was truly about Charlie's high school experience, there was a hint of romance, but that wasn't the prime focus of the book. Character-wise, I loved almost all of them, but in nearly all of them there were small characteristics I didn't enjoy. Charlie was a bit too innocent for my taste, but he was an incredible story teller, and he was easy to relate to in a lot of ways. Most people can relate to being a wallflower, to standing on the sidelines and watching the world without participating. Sam was a great character as well, but I didn't like how she clung to certain relationships when there were better options available. Secondary characters were abundant in this book, the cast was quite large, but all of them were fairly well developed with details about their lives included throughout the subplots.
The writing of this book is simply extraordinary. It's written in letters to an unknown person from Charlie, the protagonist.They're gritty, real and not idealized in the slightest. It's easy to believe that these could be the real tales of an actual high school student because the events are captured in their entirety without any censoring. I'd recommend this book to people who want to see the movie (out this month) or to someone looking for a very gritty, realistic take on YA contemporary book. I give Perks a 4/5 for being a solid staple in the realm of YA for over a decade.