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Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a true modern classic.

Set in the early 1990s, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an epistolary novel written from the point of view of Charlie. He’s a freshman in high school, struggling to find his way after his best friend commits suicide. Charlie’s just a little bit different. He’s not really what you’d call geeky, just different. His family consider him to be a bit of an oddball but the problem is, so does everyone else at school. This story follows Charlie as he tries to navigate the world of first dates, parties, drugs, sex and mental health.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower really took me by surprise. I’ve heard people rave and rave about it for years but for some reason I’ve never felt hugely driven to read it. This book has sat on my shelf for a few years now, featured in many bookstagram pictures, but never opened until recently. From reading the plot summary, this book probably sounds like a lot of other coming of age dramas out there, but this book really is something special.

It is told from Charlie’s point of view as he writes anonymous letters to a stranger. He has a unique voice; he’s the sort of character that is always on the sidelines, watching, but never participating, thus is very observant. Despite the fact that this book details what it’s like to go through high school, something that most people experience and many people have written about before, the raw and honest narrative make this a refreshing read. Charlie is brutally honest about everything. Literally everything. I assume this is why some people love this story and others hate it. Personally, I found that I could relate to Charlie and his experiences in a way that I’ve never related to a fictional character before. Chbosky puts on paper what most are too afraid to say out loud and I am convinced that what he describes are universal feelings felt by all on some level.

This is a coming of age story that encompasses all aspects of high school troubles – friends, family, sexuality, drugs and mental health. For this reason, this book was placed on many high school reading lists. For the very same reason, this book was banned in other schools. There’s something about Charlie’s story that just felt so very real, which is why so many people can relate to it, adults and teenagers alike. Although some of the themes discussed could be considered ‘delicate’, I don’t think any of them are addressed in a way that should come with a warning.

What I loved about this story is that Charlie went from an oddball with no friends, shunned by his peers, to an oddball with supportive friends. This story isn’t about changing who you are or conforming to fit in, it’s about finding your own people and being accepted for who you are. Charlie isn’t really portrayed as the victim in this story. He is alienated for being different, which is not his fault at all, but at the same time he also often acts in a way that pushes people away. His new friends help him come out of his shell and also teach him to be a better version of himself.

Chbosky manages to write a story that (shows) the raw reality of the mind of a high school student whilst also weaving an interesting story. If you haven’t already read The Perks of Being a Wallflower then I would urge you to do so now! Although aimed at teenagers, this story is meant for anyone who has ever been through high school (so that’s pretty much everyone!), especially those that have ever felt like a wallflower. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a real modern classic and I’d highly recommend it to all.

Buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower:
Amazon | Book Depository

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Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a true modern classic. #whatshotblog #bookreview #bookblog #booklover

If you liked this book, check out these:
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Laura

Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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23 Comments

  1. 12th February 2016 / 5:39 PM

    I love this book and it wasn’t too long ago that I read it either. Like you I found Charlie really relatable and I loved the underlying theme of not having to change who you are. I actually really liked the film adaptation too– which is very unusual for me. Normally I can’t get past how I see the characters/story in my own mind but I thought the film was very well done.

  2. 12th February 2016 / 6:01 PM

    Sounds like a good read. It’s not something I would usually pick but I’ll add it to my “to read” list.

  3. Elizabeth
    12th February 2016 / 6:04 PM

    This sounds like a really good read! I’ll have to get it for my Kindle!

  4. 12th February 2016 / 6:44 PM

    oh this sounds right up my street I think I may have to have a look for it

  5. 12th February 2016 / 11:32 PM

    Love the cover. So pretty. Would love to read this.

  6. Natasha Mairs
    13th February 2016 / 9:28 AM

    I have heard of this book but thought it was about history (for some reason) this sounds great. Will have to add it to my to-read list

  7. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    13th February 2016 / 9:29 AM

    This has been on my wishlist for ages. Maybe I will actually order it today and start reading it.

  8. Rhian Westbury
    13th February 2016 / 10:37 AM

    I absolutely love this book, it was one of my favourites as a teenage. Wasn’t so keen on the movie though x

  9. Teresa Bowen
    13th February 2016 / 12:06 PM

    I haven’t come across this book before but as I’m using the wi-fi in the local library today I’m off to see if they have a copy I can borrow. I really like the sound of this.

  10. kitty kaos
    13th February 2016 / 1:52 PM

    I really enjoyed this book when I read it and great review xx

  11. 13th February 2016 / 8:03 PM

    This is one book I haven’t read, though I’ve had it on my bookshelf for ages, I should perhaps look it out and get reading. x

  12. Beautyqueenuk
    13th February 2016 / 9:28 PM

    I read this a long time ago and I really did enjoy it x

  13. Bex Smith
    13th February 2016 / 10:18 PM

    I keep meaning to pick this up and read it! Added it to my Amazon basket so I don’t forget

  14. 14th February 2016 / 12:20 AM

    This is definitely on my TBR pile – I love coming of age novels x

  15. 14th February 2016 / 5:06 AM

    I still haven’t read this book, thanks for reminding me!

  16. Jessica
    14th February 2016 / 5:49 AM

    I’ve read this and watched the movie. The feelings in thr book are just great. Genuine emotions. 🙂

  17. 14th February 2016 / 1:43 PM

    I’ve always wanted to read this book/watch this movie!

  18. Beth
    14th February 2016 / 5:07 PM

    I’ve not heard of this before. Sounds like a great read

  19. 14th February 2016 / 8:45 PM

    this sounds like a great book! i would want to read it myself

  20. sarah Lea
    15th February 2016 / 12:23 AM

    This sounds like a great read! I might have to add it to my ever growing ‘To Read’ list. I need to make more time to read! xx

  21. Charlotte
    15th February 2016 / 5:22 PM

    This sounds like a great book! I will put it on my ‘to read’ list. x

  22. Zena's Suitcase
    16th February 2016 / 8:07 PM

    I really like the sound of this book, it sounds like something I would read. I’m intrigued by the human mind, and this sounds like it would give some great insights into an unusual character

  23. 20th February 2016 / 8:04 PM

    i definitely watch the movie with emma watson! It sticked in my head! Awsome book!

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