MTV Books, 213 pages
"Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed 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. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those books I'll probably never forget. It's a novel I'll more than likely re-read just for fun, or if I'm going through something personal in my life. I don't know why I didn't pick up this book a long time ago, considering it was published in the late 90s. But man, I sure am glad I did.
The book is written in a diary form. Every entry starting with a, "Dear friend" and ending with a "Love always, Charlie." The main character Charlie makes it feel like that "friend" really is you and it's intimate and real and so true. Charlie's first and foremost road block starts when his best friend commits suicide. He becomes lonely; but when he meets Patrick and Sam is when everything changes for Charlie.
I fell in love with the characters. Patrick was a friend everyone should have. The kind that lets you be yourself. And Sam was sweet to Charlie even though Charlie loved her and she was older and it just wouldn't work out. And Charlie. Charlie was a character that anyone could relate to, and I mean anyone. I feel that at one point or another someone has felt sad, alone, like it's not enough, or just that you don't have a place in the world. He's such a relatable character and that's why this book hits home to so many readers out there, including myself.
The writing. The way this book was written just had me at a loss for words. There was an equal mixture of happiness and sadness, but confusion and being hurt. Charlie is an emotional person, and the writing had me feeling those same emotions. When Charlie was down, I couldn't help but feel bad, but when Charlie was happy I felt like cheering him on. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is definitely about growing up and finding out who you are and what you want to be. There was an essence to the story that made me want to cry and smile at the same time. It's the type of book that can change the way you view the world or even yourself.
Everything Charlie goes through, you're right along with him. And I felt like I actually knew him and Sam and Patrick; like I was friends with them or something. Doesn't get more real than that.
If you ever considered reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower then I suggest you get your butt to the nearest library or bookstore and get a copy! This book honestly should be required reading for teens in high school, or just required reading in general. A terrific read and a new favorite novel, I'd have to say!
Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!