Publication Date: February 1, 1999Review: Oh, boy... I'm almost afraid to review this book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower already had so many odds againt it before I read it, I think it's almost a bit unfair. This was one of the few scenarios when I watched the film before reading the book. I didn't care for the film, but my friend loved the book. He handed it to me a few days ago and said, "You're going to read this."
Publisher: MTV Books
Page Count: 213
Synopsis: 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.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix 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. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. 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.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
And so I did. I read it even though I was sure that if I had a nickel for every time I saw the quotes, "We accept the love we think we deserve," or "In that moment, I swear we were infinite," on a hipster photo, my wealth would rival Beyonce's. I read it even though the movie was disappointing. And I read it even though I had a strong feeling that it wouldn't be my cup of tea.
I tried my best to go into this one with an open mind. And while I did not despise this book, I didn't particularly enjoy it. Charlie was a strange character. I had a difficult time relating to him. He didn't feel like a 15/16 year old to me. Instead, he sounded more like a young, naive child, despite some heavy themes of sex, drugs, and sexual assault. Perhaps that was intentional, as this book documents his growth as a character, but I found it a bit jarring. His closest friends, Sam and Patrick, weren't particularly appealing to me either. Sam was a girl that caused my feelings towards her character to be pulled in different directions. Patrick was funny and provided bursts of delight, but also had that certain misfit quality that all of the characters had.
This book is written in letters to an anonymous "friend." And while I thought it was fitting of Charlie's character to write this whole book in letters, it also failed to compel me. There was no constant plot going on to leave me wanting more. In a way, if I stopped after one letter and never picked the book up again, the story would've still felt complete.
The writing is very dull and dry, in my opinion. Similar words and phrases are constantly repeated, making the reading experience very tiring. There are certain parts that contain a subtle beauty, such as the quotes that have been tired out by all the pictures and bracelets they've been printed on, but overall, the writing was very lacking of emotion.
Perhaps my review is unfair because I already has a preconception of the book, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower failed to impress me, despite the many fans of it that I've encountered. I'm not sure if I'd personally recommend it, but many people love this novel, so I would encourage other interested readers to give it a shot.