Book Review; 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

2:09:00 am

Hiii guys! *waving frantically* How are we doing? This is my first post this month so permit me to wish you a happy November. Hope your weekend turned out great? I had an amazing time because I got to attend a wedding and it was so much fun.  Now, let's dig into the book review.

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'. There's just something I like so much about the book title. So, who's a wallflower? Wallflower: a person who is shy or unpopular and who stands or sits apart from other people at a dance or party. This is a very suiting description of 15 year old Charlie who's a high school student and the main character in the book. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' was published in February 1999 and is set in the early 90s (1991/1992).

Charlie is very quiet, an introvert and also very intelligent (which he's not aware of). The book is a sum of all the letters he wrote to a stranger, telling him/her about his life. Charlie happened to have one good friend, Michael, but then he committed suicide just before they got into high school. This incident traumatizes Charlie because this is the second closest person he's lost in his life, the first being his aunt Helen.

He also has 2 siblings who are always at loggerheads with each other.  He has no friends but suddenly becomes friends with 2 seniors, Sam and Patrick. They are step siblings and they quickly become fond of Charlie. Charlie's English teacher, Bill, is also quite fond of him because he noticed he was very good at writing essays and interpreting literary works. This made him give Charlie books that were outside the school's curriculum and he enjoyed reading and writing about them.

Patrick is in a secret relationship with the captain of the school's football team, Brad, while Charlie has a major crush on Sam. Charlie informs Sam about his feelings towards her and she made him understand that they couldn't possibly become a couple. Although, Sam gave Charlie his first kiss and when asked why, she said she wanted it to be from someone who loved him. This stemmed from the fact that she was sexually abused by her father's friend when she was much younger and she didn't want Charlie to experience his first kiss in that sort of horrible way.

Hanging out with Sam and Patrick also meant attending parties with them and mixing up with their other friends. It was at one of such parties that Charlie was termed a 'wallflower'. Because he sees things and knows things but doesn't say anything.

This book has a lot of themes which includes rape, domestic violence, drug and sexual abuse, first time sexual encounters, music, homosexuality, depression, suicide and loneliness.

For me, I felt the sexual content was the most predominant theme and it was the one thing I didn't like so much about the book. Asides that, it was an interesting read. It reminded me a lot of my teenage years and the search for one's identity and true self. Although, because of cultural differences between the author and myself the reader, I couldn't relate with the aspect of a teenager committing suicide because his parents were having issues at home. What sort of issues though? The author fails to mention except that his parents had a divorce after his death.

 Another thing I didn't quite understand was Charlie's level of naivety. I get that he's very shy and all but at 15, he was oblivious to a whole lot of things which made him sound like an 8 year old most of the time. Still, he was able to read books like "How to Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee and write an excellent essay about it. At some point I began to assume Charlie was probably an autistic child but then, the author mentions nothing about it except that he had a psychologist whom he visited occasionally.

The writing style was one thing that made this book stand out for me. It was pure, relatable and honest. It's one of those books that while reading, you feel this sort of bond with the narrator who in this case was Charlie. My favorite quote in the book is from the epilogue and it reads;

"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them." - Charlie.

Out of 5 stars, I would rate this book 4 stars and recommend everyone to read it. There's a movie adaptation of it and I'm going to get it soon so I can actually watch the characters come to life.

So, the book for this month is 'I've Got Your Number' by Sophie Kinsella. If you've read 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' then you should know Sophie. She's one of my favorite authors.

If you've read 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. Your feedback is always appreciated.

I'll be back soon. Have a super productive week ahead.
xo, Evita.

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  1. What an interesting read. I certainly agree with the quote; yes we might not be able to decide where we're starting from, but our futures really are in our hands.

    Great post!

    Funmi xx

    1. Thanks Funmi. That quote really struck me.

  2. Your summary of the book is so amazing... Am already in love with the book and would seek ways to get it maybe download.

    Also, there are really some people who are children in action when compared to their age. They could be teenagers but reason like those below ten.. It doesn't make make them autistic kids., they aren't just used to the world they see it, but in their inner self they could be highly intelligent just like the Charlie.

    It was a great read Evita.

    1. Hi Brenda. Thank you! That's another way to look at it though but when you read the book, you might see the angle I'm coming from. I could mail the epub version to you. I appreciate your comment.

  3. I read The Perks of Being A Wallflower about two years ago and I loved it. I've seen the movie as well. I really liked it, it's a wonderful coming of age story. I've also read I've Got Your Number , twice in fact! It's a really heartwarming book and I can't wait to read what you think about it. xx

    1. Wow!! That's awesome. I've Got Your Number is such a funny and captivating story and I can't wait to write about it. Thanks for stopping by Demilade.

  4. Most books are usually better than their movie adaptations. Half of a Yellow Sun is one example.

    Sophie Kinsella is the queen of Chick Lit. Her wit and humour makes romance so interesting. My favourite SK novel is "Twenties Girl" It's an awesome book!

    1. Hi Nedu! You're so right about Half of a Yellow Sun. The movie adaptation was disappointing. I haven't read Twenties Girl but now that you've mentioned it as your favourite SK novel, I'll look out for it. My favourite remains Confessions of a Shopaholic.


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