The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The book itself is set between 1992 and 1993 and is a series of letters written by a fifteen/sixteen year old American teenager Charlie who is starting school as a freshman. In the beginning of the book, Charlie comes across as a very quiet person and in honestly is a bit of a loser at first because, he has no friends apart from his English teacher.

He has a pretty normal family: Both his parents are still married and he is the younger child out of the three children in his family. However, he does mention that his sister has never kissed him or hugged him ever and that his father can be very 'stern' sometimes.

Charlie mentions throughout the book, two deaths he has overcome. One of which was his Aunt Helen who died in a car crash which he thinks is his fault. Secondly is that of his middle school friend Michael who took his own life because of what Charlie calls 'family problems' (neither Charlie, nor the reader knows what the 'problems' are).

Later on, his letters become more exciting as he finally meets two friends Sam (who is a girl) and Patrick who is also known as 'Nothing' in some duration of the book. Charlie becomes more daring in the book and has a pretty good social life. He attends house parties with 'popular' football players, watches his friends perform The Rocky Horror Show every Friday night and becomes high from Brownies.

Throughout the book, Charlie mentions many novels that he has received from his English teacher Bill and that he has to write essay upon essay about them. He mentions books such as To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Great Gatsby and Naked Lunch (I could continue, but the list is so long!). Charlie also mentions a lot about mix tapes and how he makes some himself for Patrick and Sam as well as finding his great taste in music from a mix tape his Sister's boyfriend makes for her which has one of Charlie's favourite song on it - Asleep by The Smiths (The Smiths are also a favourite of mine as well).

Charlie cries a lot in the book and I think it's because the only friend he ever had was Michael but then he passed away and he essentially had no one until he met Sam, Patrick and the others. He becomes very emotionally attached to everyone but near the end of the book he becomes quite lonely again and upset very easily.

I like that this novel is set out in letters which I think makes it a bit quirkier than other books I've read and each letter starts with 'Dear Friend' so he isn't writing it to a specific person (such as one of his friends or a specific name) which I think makes it more personal for the reader - well it did for me.

I really liked this book, and I thought was a pretty good coming-of-age story and I will definitely recommend to others to read. It was light-hearted with a few serious and upsetting points in between but all in all I enjoyed it and I was completely hooked. The only thing I will criticise is the ending but I don't wish to spoil it for you but I will say that I wish it could have been written a bit better. Nevertheless, It was still pretty good.

Have you ever read 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'?

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