The Perks of Being a Wallflower book review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower book review

Harleigh Wiesenbach

   Where to begin? I remember when The Perks of Being a Wallflower had a movie trailer out, and after I heard it was based on a book, I refused to watch the movie until I read it. I knew I wouldn’t read it otherwise.

   I guess I never got around to it and had kind of forgotten it existed. I never saw it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, so I never bought it. But I never searched for it either. Kind of ironic, considering the title. But once I started reading it for Contemporary Literature, I was glad I had.

   The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was definitely a fast read; I read the second half of it all on Easter night. And I had started it at the beginning of break. It was definitely a page turner as well, but not really in the suspenseful sort of way. Charlie, the main character, did have his struggles as a freshman in high school, but if anything it was a page turner because of how relatable it was.

   Charlie is, as the title suggests, a wallflower. He doesn’t really have any friends until he meets the other main characters, Sam and Patrick. They’re step brother and sister and both seniors in high school. They introduce Charlie to a lot of things (keep in mind this was set in the early 90s), such as drinking, smoking, drugs, and sex. But other things too, such as relationships, first kisses, and dates. The book deals with more adult things than one may think.

   The book is basically a timeline of Charlie’s struggles, written out to an unnamed friend which is implied as you, the reader. This on its own came as a surprise based solely on my prior knowledge to the book. But it flowed very nicely this way, all told from Charlie’s first person point of view.

   I gave this book a five out of five stars on Goodreads as soon as I finished. Like I said before, it was relatable. Towards the end, all of Charlie’s friends are obviously going to graduate, considering they’re all seniors. I myself have friends graduating this year, and considering it’s already April, it’s weird to think about. The Perks of Being a Wallflower made me realize some things that I may have already known, just didn’t acknowledge. The fact that some of my friends are graduating or the fact that I need to stop worrying about everything are only two examples. And I loved that. I loved how it made me realize things. It was beautiful, fast paced, and a lovely stand-alone novel. And as Charlie repeats throughout the novel, it made me, too, feel infinite. ∞

I am a veteran English teacher of 34 years, and I teach AP Literature and Composition, English 11, SAT Prep, and Digital Media.

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