Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Review by Ashlee Burke

About the Book: "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." - Goodreads

“Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky is interesting for a teen book because it is quiet. There is no sparkly undead, there is no dooming apocalypse, and the kids aren’t all driving beemers and ruining each other’s lives with twisted games of intrigue. It simply follows a boy name Charlie through his first year of high school. He meets friends, has a crush, and even goes to a school dance or two. The book very much like the main character Charlie himself: introverted and shy. But once you get to know Charlie/Perks you feel this intense sense of loneliness and desire to belong that really makes you think. He comes off a little odd at first but once you get inside his head you can see a bit of yourself in him. If you can’t relate to the struggling outsider there are plenty of other characters in the story to relate to. 

Charlie’s is at times a complete hero and other time’s leaves the reader just wondering what the hell is wrong with this kid. He often vaguely references depression and memory lapses like they are no big deal and the beginning of the story starts with him recalling his best friend’s suicide. But at the end of the day I rooted for him. I wanted him to win the girl and I wanted him to figure out how to “participate”. I couldn’t help but wonder when I was reading: If he figures it out maybe I can too.

“It's strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.” 
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Recommendation: I think Perks of Being a Wallflower is a must read. It’s hauntingly beautiful and a pleasant read. It was a nice change of pace in a genre that doesn’t always slow down for the small stories. 

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