Perks of Being a Wallflower: Review
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Schbosky, originally released February 1st, 1999, by Pocket Books
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a book loved and adored by many.
The story is told through a high school freshman named Charlie through a series of letters, written from him to someone called “Friend”, although it is never revealed who the friend is. He experiences all of the clichés that high school brings: love, heartbreak, and friendship, as well as drugs and alcohol. Even The Rocky Horror Show makes a vibrant appearance. However, these clichés are only the tip of the iceberg in comparison to the depth of the rest of the story. Charlie is as endearing as he is heart-wrenching. As the story is written through his perspective, I find it is perfectly parallel to Charlie’s mind. The writing style is simple yet stream-of-consciousness, with sudden, important details at the end of paragraphs as though Charlie had just remembered to mention it.
The characters are introduced early in the story, each with complex backgrounds and individualistic personalities. I found myself falling just as in love with these side characters as I was with Charlie– a writerly feat that is not easily achieved.
The subjects of this story are graphic and explicit. I certainly could not imagine reading this, at least with the intention of understanding each individual subplot, any earlier than high school. However, these subjects are imperative in developing Charlie’s character and in learning his ups and downs.
This book is not a simple, happy read. It is filled with twists, up and downs, and realistic conflicts that alter the characters’ lives immensely. I believe that anyone who reads it can take some kind of lesson from the story to apply to their own lives.
I would consider it a coming-of-age type story, one that is short and easy to read but also makes you think for a long while after reading. Even having already seen the movie adaptation, there are many crucial elements that did not make it to the screen that are essential to the story. While it is a YA novel, I genuinely believe that everyone should read this book at some point, regardless of age.
Those who enjoy books like Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda, Paper Towns, or A Separate Peace would probably enjoy this story.
Listen to my Perks of Being a Wallflower Spotify playlist to set the mood while reading!
“You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”-Stephen Chbosky, Perks of Being a Wallflower