The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those terrific, but unfortunate (for adults, anyway), books that is labeled as “teen.” Most adults probably would pass this slender tome by, and that would be a sad mistake.

Chboksy’s debut novel is a cult classic as well as being critically acclaimed; no easy feat. Anyone who navigated adolescence (uh, all of us) can relate to some aspect of Charlie, an awkward wallflower and high school freshmen that no one seems to notice. The novel is written in a series of letters to a “friend,” and captures what it is like to experience everything for the first time.  It doesn’t shirk from the topics of: deep friendship, homosexuality, sex, drugs, alcoholism, theft, mental illness, sexual abuse – you name it, it’s in there, and written about in a candid, open way.

Charlie retires his wallflower status when he is befriended by high school seniors/brother and sister Patrick and Samantha. As he is brought into their inner circle of friends, Charlie learns that the people he used to admire from afar, and think had perfect lives – are just as damaged as he is. Most of the novel rings very true, and Charlie as written by Chbosky (who has said he has a lot of Charlie in him) is a delight to read. I normally don’t enjoy epistolary novels, but this one had me riveted so much that I watched the film after reading the book (hint: the book was better, but note that Chbosky also wrote the screenplay AND directed the movie). Well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and a plot twist at the end all make for a classic.

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One Response to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky”

  1. Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Heidi B’s Picks | Wake County Libraries "Book a Day" Staff Pick Says:

    […] The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This is a terrific book that often is unfortunately labeled as a “teen novel.” Chboksy’s debut novel is a cult classic as well as being critically acclaimed; no easy feat. Anyone who navigated adolescence (uh, all of us) can relate to some aspect of Charlie, an awkward wallflower and high school freshman that no one seems to notice. Well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and a plot twist at the end all make for a classic.  See my full review. […]

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