April 15, 2010

Review of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
Stephen Chbosky


Pub. Date: February 2, 1999
Pages: 224


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 loved this book so much, I wish I could go back in time and read it in high school. Even though parts of the story were heartbreaking, Charlie's character pulled me through the story. I loved how the kids were so into Rocky Horror in the book. In college I know a lot of people who loved the movie and even dressed up like the characters on Halloween to perform in front of the screen during a viewing of the film. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" deals with issues that a lot of teens can relate to. Charlie struggles with coming into his sexuality, while some of his friends struggle with harassment because of their sexual preference. Abuse and drug use are also topics in the book.

The book is written in letters to an anonymous reader that is never revealed in the book, allowing Charlie to be honest about his experiences. The reader gets an intimate look into some of the characters more awkward moments that make up any teenagers life. Music is also used throughout the book to describe Charlie's feelings and emotions. Readers can get a greater understanding of Charlie's feelings by listening to the music he describes in the book. Through Chbosky's storytelling, an introverted teen like Charlie is able to share his inner most feelings with the reader.

Even though I would recommend this book to most teens, I do warn that it does have difficult content and use mature language. It may not be for everyone, but I think most teens will relate to the characters in this book.


  1. This sounds really good - thanks for the review - I would like to read this.

  2. I loved this book one of my favorites-great review :)

  3. Thanks Sheila and Caitlin. It really is a must read!