Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review: the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

It's a book!

The perks of being a wallflower is a book about being a troubled teen. His troubles are varied, social, and may surprise you with their realism. The story is told through first person letters to a mystery recipient, all you know about the man who is reading Charlie's diary is that he "could have had sex with that girl at the party but didn't" and Charlie thinks that he is worth writing to.

I love you creepy word man.

I admit I was hesitant to read this book, not because I wasn't intrigued by it's concept, but because I don't like depressing stories, especially ones that make me remember my own confusing and angst-filled teenage years. It was recommended to me by my girlfriend who has a special fondness for these sort of tales even though they have the habit of eliciting the most unpleasant of emotional responses. Don't get me wrong, this is not the saddest or wrenching story I have ever read, I'm just saying it makes you feel. When looking for an avenue of entertaining story time most people are hunting for just that, entertaining story time, not feelings; those critters can be scary.

Bitches be trippin'.

Charlie is a highly intelligent boy and a joy to live with during the course of the book. It's a shorter story, only 206 pages with standard young-adult-fiction style font and easy pacing. Charlie is an observer and a boy of great understanding of his peers. However, all of his troubles begin when he takes the advice of his teacher and begins to peel away from the wall and "participate" in the life of a social high school student. Shenanigans ensue, including dealings with the Rocky Horror Picture Show, pre-2010 hipsters, pot brownies, and prom.


There are a couple controversial tones which I will cover here and they may be spoiler-ish so please skip ahead if that isn't your thing. First: Homosexuality. Charlie's best friend is gay and having a relationship with a popular football player who wants to keep the relationship a secret. After they break up and Patrick (Charlie's friend) proceeds to have a complete fucking melt down and he uses Charlie to alleviate his loneliness and they end up having drunken make-out sessions. Now, this whole situation got to me at first but then I allowed myself to open up and really think about it. Charlie is trying to help his friend. Throughout the story you learn to what lengths he will go to and what sacrifices he will endure for the sake of his friends. It's an emotional and very real thing.


(Still in Spoiler Mode) Second: Insanity. Charlie has problems. Yes, he is intelligent and understanding and amazing but there's an underlying core to this. It all stems from his Aunt's death and Charlie struggles with this and his own fragile mind at especially angsty moments of his freshman year. It brings up the topic of how we should treat teen mental problems, medication, etc. and can inspire deeper thought. (Yeah, there's a bit of sex and suicide but they didn't hit me nearly as much as those first two topics.)


(Spoiler Mode over) In closing it's a good book and I recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind turning back the clock to those confusing and exciting years and seeing the institution of high school from a unique social perspective.
My mom put mustard on my sandwich... I may cut myself....

Best quotes:
"Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve."
"Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do it's no excuse."
"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."

Self explanatory.

Also, there is a movie coming out in 2012 that was written and directed by Chbosky himself.

Watson. Yes.

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