Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Summary: 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 mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is a perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

But Charlie 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.

--From the back of the book.

This book is difficult to explain (I seem to be saying that a lot lately, sorry).

It was fantastic -- and I guess the best way to put it, is that the book is like nostalgia.

The entire book just gave me that nostalgic feeling; sometimes it made me want to laugh, sometimes it made me want to cry, and I felt sad and happy and inspired and human with every page I turned.

I guess I should explain the human thing... there are books that make us realise our own mortality because they deal with death, but this book wasn't like that, it was about life -- it was about living. There was that sense of time passing and life changing in the book and it just made me feel really human; where I realise that life is short and we're temporary and we all have to live and one day it's going to be over and nothing is forever.

Someday, everything becomes a memory because at the end of the day, that's what life is about; filling our lives with memories, as many happy ones as we possibly can.

I knew that, of course, but the book makes you stop and re-realise it.

This wasn't a book that you read for the plot, you don't read it to get to the end -- it's like you read it for the journey, not the destination -- because it didn't feel like it was a story, it felt like life not a plot.

I could say how brilliant I think the characters are, how awesome Charlie was with his weird almost innocent and incredibly honest way of viewing the world or how I love all of the music and other things referenced in the book or how I found myself putting loads of little scraps of paper in pages of the book that I loved so I could go back to them or how I really loved the prose... but really, as awesome as those things were, they weren't what made the book so excellent.

It's funny, there was an exact page where I had this moment and realised, "Okay, I love this book." and that almost never happens, it's usually this gradual thing or something, but page 38 was when I realised I loved it.

I am not explaining this book well at all, it's one of those books that you have to read to really understand what I'm trying to put into words in this review.

You should read it. It was honestly one of the best books I've read, but it's strange, it's not my favourite in the same way as John Green books or Melina Marchetta books are my favourite, it's just as brilliant but it's like the Perks of Being a Wallflower is it's own kind of brilliant, it's unique and I can't really compare it to anything I've read before.

Anyway, sorry this review was kind of awful, just... read the book.


p.s. There is a few covers of the book, this one is my favourite and the others are the reason it took me so long to read the book. Another case of allowing a title/cover I dislike put me off reading an awesome book (happened with Jellicoe Road), I really should stop doing that.


  1. Wow, I haven't read this book in forever! It's cool reading reviews and thoughts on the "classics" or books I read back when I was in high school or college. Brings me back a little bit. Sometimes, I wish I still read books from the perspective of my younger self.

  2. I love this book, and this really is the most amazing cover. I do hope the movie is bad because Stephen is behind it and it would be interesting to see it on the cover. But anyway, love this book. Has some of the best quotes ever. I actually interviewed the author...the link is in the left hand sidebar of my blog if you want to read it. It was interesting.


  3. I read this book when I was in high school and it instantly became a favorite. And I completely understand that it is extremely difficult to put into words why it is one of my favorite books! Still, I loved how you wrote about it. Makes me want to pick it up again and reread it!



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