The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. Of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Review by Cindi
The first time I heard of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was through my friends. They claimed that the movie was amazing and spectacular. However, I didn’t find out about the book until I recently discovered the book title on the “100 Best-Ever Teen Novels” (http://www.npr.org/2012/08/07/157795366/your-favorites-100-best-ever-teen-novels). Due to my desire of having a productive summer, I decided to give the book a try. I didn’t disappoint myself.
When I first read the book summary, I was hooked. I am currently a high school student, so I felt that I can relate to his book. However, this novel opened up a new sphere of high school that I have never experienced. The plot is overwhelmed with events relating to things like drugs and sex.
First of all, I found the format of this book incredibly interesting. It is written in a first-person perspective; the narrator, Charlie, is apparently writing letters to an anonymous source. Being a conservative about the way books are written, I was a bit skeptical of the way this book was written. When I read the first “letter entry,” I thought to myself, this isn’t going to work out. However, I realized that writing the that structure allows the high school experiences to seem more realistic and personal. It adds a dramatic element to the plot, especially when huge dilemmas engulf Charlie.
The characters in the novel are unique as well. Personally, I really like Charlie, especially since he is a dynamic character. As a reader, it is easy to acknowledge the changes in Charlie’s character and personality. A reader is able to literally feel what Charlie is going through by the usage of his words. Charlie’s friends, Patrick and Sam, are great factors in how Charlie grows as an individual. Because of the supporting characters, the secret that Charlie has been withholding ultimately surfaces near the end of the novel. The other characters, such as Charlie’s family, help remind readers that Charlie, despite the struggles he is facing, is still a “typical” high school student. I personally really like the relationship Charlie developed with his teacher, Bill. Out of all the kind of “dark” times Charlie encounters, it seems as if his friendship with Bill brings in a ray of sunshine.
The plot, in my opinion, is crazy. It actually exposed me to situations and things I’ve never experienced before, Due to the exemplary writing, I feel like I don’t need to experience those things. The plot perfectly mimics the ups and downs of high school. However, I was extremely caught off guard by Charlie’s secret concerning his aunt. For example, the following quote really shook me up:
When I fell asleep, I had this dream. My brother and my sister and I were watching television with my Aunt Helen. Everything was in slow motion. The sound was thick. And she was doing what Sam was doing.
For those who don’t know, Sam and Charlie were having a very intimate moment prior to Charlie’s thought (above). My first reaction was oh my gosh, is this for real? It turns out that, yes, it is for real. Charlie’s Aunt Helen molested Charlie. I think it’s amazing how all the events that Charlie went through eventually lead to this discovery about Charlie’s past. It seems so unrelated, yet, it ties in so perfectly.
Overall, the book is enjoyable and it was a quick read for me. It does have some inappropriate scenes and references, but they all add to the effectiveness of the plot. One quote that I really liked is,
I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share is with other people. Maybe that is what makes people ‘participate.’
The quote is somewhat a theory that Charlie develops, and I really enjoy it because it does relate to “real life.” The symbol of the wallflower perfectly ties in to the entire story as well.
I definitely recommend this book to those who haven’t read it yet. The Perks of Being a Wallflower can definitely educate and inform many people about the struggles of high school and hindering memories.
Grade: 4 out of 5. Enjoyable and unique. It definitely brings to light the problems some high school students face. The book is written so well that as a reader, you are able to put yourself in Charlie’s shoes and see life in his perspective.