Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Perks of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Series: N/A
Service: Own
Release Date: 01/08/2012
Pages: 231
Format: Paperback


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Charlie’s not the biggest geek in high school, but he’s by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent, yet socially awkward, Charlie is a wallflower, standing on the threshold of his life whilst watching everyone else live theirs. As Charlie tries to navigate his way through uncharted territory – the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends – he realises that he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. There comes a time when you have to see what life looks like from the dance floor.

Give me one word…

Why do you say that?

I finally picked up this book. I have been meaning to for a while and after the film was released I realised that I wanted to read it before I watched the film.

'The perks of being a wallflower' follows the story of Charlie as he starts high school, in 1992, and learns to deal with all the things that are thrown his way. The book is set out in a series of letters written by Charlie and sent to the reader as, ‘Dear friend’.

The letter format does make you feel like you are being personally invited into Charlie’s life but for me that was where the familiarity ended. Charlie seems so detached as he tells you about his day to day life that I spent a lot of the book struggling to connect with him. There were a few instances in the book where I could relate to him (episodes of being ignored in the hallway and fancying people who do not feel the same) but they were few and far between for me.

There are various instances in the book where Charlie cries and tells us that he is doing so. Usually when a character becomes emotional, I feel myself welling up. But Charlie’s tears were a statement and I didn’t feel like I got much more than that from it. It was a shame because I wanted to connect with him on a deeper level.

Charlie’s best friends are Sam and Patrick, and I enjoyed their characterisation a lot more. Sam and Patrick are step siblings who do not fit in with the crowd. Charlie falls for Sam pretty quickly and she tells him that he should not feel that way about her. Whilst Charlie struggles with his feelings Sam begins to date. Later on in the book when her relationship has ended, Sam questions why Charlie did not do anything. Her outburst towards the end of the book is ultimately what sets something off in him.

By far, Patrick was my favourite character. His brotherly love towards Charlie made me warm to him though there was a small portion of the book where I felt like he was taking advantage of him.

By the end of the book I was left to question how everything was stitched together. It felt more like a diary where some things connected and others didn’t.

I do recommend this book to anyone looking for a coming of age story of someone trying to find their feet in the world but, personally, I was left wanting more from the story.

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