Monday, 11 April 2016

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 240
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is attempting to navigate through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music - when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive. Standing on the fringes of life Charlie has a unique perspective of the world around him, but there comes a time to stop being a wallflower and see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has become a modern classic. Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating and through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
It's really hard for me to articulate how I felt about this book. There was just something 'off' with the whole tone of the story. I just felt like the teenagers in this book tried too hard to be edgy and different. Everyone was smoking, taking drugs or having sex and there were endless discussions about songs, poetry, books - it just goes on. The characters didn't feel realistic to me and I felt myself rolling my eyes often.

I didn't like Charlie as a narrator really, he is a freshman in high school but he sounds like he is 9 years old and is always crying. I didn't find it cute and I would have preferred it if Charlie was portrayed differently. There are so many heavy topics hinted at such as rape, child abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, bullying, abortion, drugs, and alcohol. It just felt like all the serious issues that a teenager could ever experience or witness was just crammed in there without any sort of further exploration.

I didn't really care much about what happened to any of the characters, and I guessed pretty quickly what the issue was with Charlie at the end, so it was predictable. Some bits were somewhat entertaining but on the whole I personally just could not connect with this book.


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