The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Published: February 1, 1999 by MTV Books

Get the book: Amazon

Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange world of love, drugs, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.

      If this were an indie movie, I might think it was great, but I read this book and found it bland. I will not remember much about it at all and I really don’t understand why it’s so popular. I thought it was boring and I’m glad it was as short as it was for that reason. 
Reasons I love this book:
  • letters – Charlie is writing letters to an anonymous person, so the novel is his telling of events in his life to a stranger. So the way Charlie thinks and talks about his life ends up being very train-of-thought, run on sentences. It flows so easily and once you sort of get in that mindset it’s hard to find a stopping point.
Huh, what?:
  • plot – Uh, there is a very loose plot at best. Charlie tells us about his daily life. Sometimes he goes on dates but doesn’t really care either way if he does or doesn’t. He reads this book and he likes it. He reads that book and doesn’t know if he likes it. There is actually a lot Charlie doesn’t know, but I think that’s one of the points of this book. We all grow up but none of us know what we’re doing so we struggle to figure it all out – and by the time we do, it’s over. It’s impossible to base your experience on someone else’s so everyone’s essentially flying blind.
  • Charlie – It’s not that I really dislike Charlie, it’s that he’s a bland, lukewarm character so my feelings on him are similar. He merely relates to us what happens in his life, but rarely ever forms opinions on these things – and if he does it’s oh it was good. Even as he continues to date a girl he doesn’t like being with, Charlie just goes along with everything she does and never has the courage to speak up about anything.
  • the book – This book is considered a “new classic” – one of those not yet ancient books that show up in English or Literature classes. I don’t understand why exactly it has been elevated to this status. It does deal with an issue of Charlie’s, but that is barely even a part of the story and when it was revealed I had trouble empathizing with Charlie because he is so emotionally flat. I believe this issue that the book deals with (mentions is really more accurate) is the only reason this book is widely read or still considered worth reading.
Favorite quotes:
  • My mom usually helps her aunt prepare the food, which my grandfather always says is “too dry” even if it’s soup. And her aunt will then cry and lock herself in the bathroom. There is only one bathroom in my great aunt’s house, so this turns to trouble when all the beer starts to hit my cousins. They stand twisted in bladder positions and bang on the door for a few minutes and almost coax my great aunt out, but then my grandfather curses something at my great aunt, and they cycle starts over again.              –  Charlie  pg. 57
  • I didn’t feel like reading that night, so I went downstairs and watched a half-hour-long commercial that advertised an exercise machine. They kept flashing a 1-800 number, so I called it. The woman who picked up the other end of the phone was named Michelle. And I told Michelle that I was a kid and did not need an exercise machine, but I hoped she was having a good night. That’s when Michelle hung up on me. And I didn’t mind a bit.      – Charlie  pg. 122
2 robots
No real plot, lack of dialogue. I didn’t really understand this book, so I didn’t enjoy reading it.
Acquired: swapped for

3 thoughts on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  1. LisaILJ – I think every book is worth a shot, some just don't click unfortunately. I hope you try reading it eventually!Ashley – I'm glad you liked it and I was disappointed too that it didn't really work for me. Enjoy the reread!

  2. I'm bummed that you didn't connect well to this story! I really liked it, although I admit that I didn't love it the way a lot of people seem to. It's been a while for me and it's actually one that I'd planned to reread, hopefully soon. 🙂

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