Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publication date: February 1, 1999
Publisher: Pocket Books
Rating: 5 stars
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Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, 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 dance floor.
"I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with someone even if they could have. I need to know these people exist."
To be honest, I have written and rewritten this review more times than I care to count. It was unbelievably hard to find the right words to write a review because this book left me utterly speechless. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age story that wasn't clichéd or hackneyed. Charlie, the main character, is a unique introvert who still manages to be very relatable. I loved this book, but the word love does not seem big enough to convey how much this book impacted me. No matter what I say, it feels inadequate in describing just how powerful this book actually was. But seeing as this is a book review blog, I suppose I should endeavor to try.
People think that the most powerful books are those that grip you from the very first page, the ones that make you feel like you're on a fast-paced roller coaster but, in fact, this is not true. The most powerful books are those you fall in love with unwittingly. Each word is like a stitch, slowly weaving itself into your heart until the story and its characters become a part of you.
I finished this book in one night which, believe me, was not my intention as I ended up going to sleep around 4 a.m.... and I wanted to go to sleep sooner, really I did! But Charlie's story had me enraptured, not because it was extremely exciting or action-packed but because I had fallen in love with this wallflower who loves books as much as I do and always gives gifts without expecting anything in return. Charlie became a real person for me and I had to keep reading to see if he was going to be alright.
The writing in this book is beautiful. It was not needlessly verbose or full of symbols and metaphors, it was honest and poignant. Charlie had a very distinct voice, naive at times but also observant and startlingly wise, which made him a very endearing character to me. His whole journey of self-discovery was filled with moments of sadness and humor and a ton of quotable quotes.
This may sound silly, but a part of me holds on to this belief that Charlie is a real person who exists somewhere out there in the real world. Who wrote these amazingly sincere letters. Who really touched me with his words. Like I said, it's a somewhat silly notion, but that's how compelling this book was. So, to fellow bookworms out there, I hope I've convinced you to read this book. And to Charlie, thank you.