sophie didn't do anything at all.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

book/ review / The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

A coming of age novel published in 1999, 'The Perks of being a Wallflower' follows Charlie, an introverted teenager who describes his life through a series of letters of an anonymous stranger.


Along with The Fault in our Stars I had been told I couldn't not read this book - so I didn't. But I haven't seen the film okay?

Narrated by our dear old Charlie, the book highlights more how he thinks and struggles, than what actually goes on in that situation. He's a Wallflower (duh) so observes occurences and people - he would rather sit on the sidelines than actually participate in life. His English teacher plays a very important role, giving him something educational to focus upon during an otherwise hazy time. 
Charlie is unconventional and intelligent yet shy and unpopular. I like that.
From the beginning it is clear that he has autism (or something of that manner), and this is why a lot of people misunderstand his way of seeing the world. 

He is extremely sensitive. His family tolerates Charlie's strangeness but do not encourage it. He has a brother and sister, both of whom have very separate lives which he doesn't seem to fully engage with. Charlie's mother doesn't say much - though she is stoically supportive of him throughout his panic attacks and misunderstandings.

The book really kicks off when Charlie takes the advice of his English teacher, Bill. He tells him to jump off the sidelines and get involved.
So, our little narrator does just that. He meets Sam (the girl he falls in love with) and her half brother Patrick (who is secretly gay). He gets in some unorthodox situations, and makes many mistakes along the way. 

The book is not a light read. It deals with a lot of emotional issues - sex, drugs, abuse, anxiety... and so on, but in a manner that doesn't deal with them. I feel this reflects real life more than other books which provide some kind of guide; Charlie just takes life as it comes and deals with the consequences. 

The book was far from blowing me away. The writing style was an attempt at blase and kitsch - but it fell far short of the mark. It's haunting - you'll muse over it for quite a while after reading, and hindsight makes me think it's genuinely clever in its simplicity. It's quite difficult to review, and very marmite. 

I much prefer The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

love sophie


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