10 September 2012

Willow Reads: The Perks of Being A Wallflower- 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.

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Page count: 213
Book Website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Stephen-Chbosky/1843916
Published: Feb. 1, 1999
Source: Friend suggestion, also wanted to read before the movie came out. :)

So first off- I want to explain the hiatus that I'm breaking now. College- simple as that. This book took me quite a while to read, not because of difficulty, but but because of time restraints. Anywho, let's get on with the review.

Logan Lerman as Charlie in the film adaptation
of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sept. 2012
This was totally not the book I expected it to be. Actually, I don't know what I was expecting- this wasn't it. The format is unique, for the main character writes letters to an unknown recipient to tell them what happened. The names aren't correct, because he doesn't want anyone to know who he is. The correct names don't really matter, because the whole book is mostly about his freshman year in high school. To be honest, I don't know how old Chbosky is, but he has his main character sounding surprisingly innocent. These days, you don't get that very often, and it took me off guard. Charlie, the main character, is very innocent, sweet, and sensitive- much like a young child and not so much like the fourteen year old he really is. This could be that he was 14 back in 1992, and I was just being born; times really have changed. But right from the get-go I felt like he was special in some sort of way, not a "normal" teenager (if there really is such a thing, right? xD). He likes school, and he doesn't mind when his favorite teacher Bill gives him extra books to read- actually he loves reading and the stuff Bill gives him interests him. To contrast Charlie with myself, I wouldn't necessarily give my best friends "To Kill a Mockingbird," as well as some other more "classic" reads as graduation gifts. I'm not that kind of reader, my friends aren't either... 

Anywho, besides school, the book deals with peer pressure, underage drinking and cigarette smoking, drug use, masturbation, and a whole range of things any high school student today at least knows about in the fifth grade- just from the detailed health classes schools give nowadays. I just about got a kick out of this part where Charlie asks if the reader knows about masturbation and how it feels. He explains it in  a serious tone, and it just made me giggle. With the teenage pregnancy rates, anyone these days that will get their hands on this book will have already known about this. 

Emma Watson as Sam in the film adaptation of The Perks of
Being a Wallflower, Sept. 2012
Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are a huge bit of Charlie's life once he gets to some friends. Sam and Patrick are siblings by marriage, and those are his two best friends... I really don't want to blame them, but if he wouldn't have met them, Charlie wouldn't have started these things. It leads to depression and a two month long hospital visit toward the end of the book for Charlie. 

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. I know I'm way late to the party- this book came out when I was just a wee little kid, oh gosh... I was 7 years old. The reason I heard about this book was because of a friend, and then the movie with Emma Watson is coming out in a few weeks and I didn't want to see before reading. I hate when I do that. And any Harry Potter fan who loves Emma has to go see this movie, she looks beautiful in it! Plus, we get to see her act out an American accent. It's going to take some getting used to. 


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