sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #27: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
“Charlie is a freshman, and while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Sky, 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 Charlie 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 dancefloor.”
I really liked this charming and witty book. Charlie is a wonderful character who is carefully drawn to strike that balance between realistic, and entertaining enough to base a book around his feelings. Chbosky manages to really capture what it is like to grow up for nearly everyone as well as creating a unique story for Charlie as an individual. The primary criticism of the book seems to be that Charlie’s experiences and personality aren’t really that representative of teenage life but I think that the tone and feelings of the novel are pretty universal. Charlie’s experiences are wildly different from my own and yet I found a lot of the feelings very familiar. There does seem to be a pretty direct correlation in the reviews I have read between people who like or don’t like The Catcher in the Rye and liking or not liking this. So whilst I wasn’t a mildly autistic American boy growing up with older friends and experimenting with drugs, I can totally recognise those brief moments of euphoria and the strength with which you feel everything that comes with being a teenager.
First Line: ‘Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.’