The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

“August 25, 1991
Dear Friend,
I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that.”

Charlie is a wallflower. Just about the start his first year of high school he is scared and knows he has no friends. He observes life rather than taking part in it. He is highly intelligent but very few people actually tell him that because he is so socially awkward people generally don’t talk to him. But all that changes when he notices Sam and Patrick at a football game and goes and sits with them. Making his first real friends is tough and though Sam and Patrick take him under their wing, their friends are a bit wary, Charlie has that effect. However eventually things start to iron out and Charlie discovers first dates, drugs, the world of sex, family dramas, mix tapes and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He soon discovers what it is like to feel infinite. But not everything can stay that way, Charlie still sticks to the sidelines and he’s soon to discover that you can’t do that, not forever, he needs to experience life. 

***
This book needs no introduction, so many people have been telling me for ages that I needed to read it, that it changed their life, that it’s their favourite book… and now I’ve read it, I completely understand why! 
This book isn’t anything major, its not life changing in the way that Charlie finds out he’s going to die or anything like that. It’s just high school and the event that happen during it. Charlie’s personality is fascinating and because it’s all told from Charlie’s letter to an unknown person you get it all in story form. You get Charlie’s feelings about what happens and you really get to understand him. It was beautiful to read because Charlie’s perspective is so unique, he is so completely different from other people and it makes for a fantastic read. High school is something that we can all relate to and I’m fairly sure I was slightly similar to Charlie, I observed a lot and I never felt like I belonged to a particular group for a very long time, it wasn’t until I got to college I really gathered a group of friends to feel like Charlie felt in Perks and it really did take me back to those days. 
Charlie is an incredible character because he’s so different. He is refreshing to know and I loved that you get to know him and almost become his friend. The letters feel like their re written to you as your reading and I loved that aspect. Sam is a lovely character and I really loved her attitude to life and her friendship with Charlie. Patrick is brilliant, though there’s one part of Perks that I just wanted to lock him in a room, you really get to feel for these characters like Charlie does and that meant that I was sad about them when Charlie was and even when he wasn’t because as a reader you kinda pick up on a little more than Charlie does because of his socially awkwardness. Bill was a brilliant character and I enjoyed that he wanted to help Charlie develop, I loved how even as a teacher he wanted to change Charlie’s life and he really cared for him. Charlie’s family were interesting and I’m so glad that his brother and sister grew throughout the book. I think Perks really shows how family relationships change with siblings going to college which is something I could definitely relate to. It’s a shame that it took certain things to get Charlie’s brother to stand up and take notice but I still enjoyed reading about the family dynamic anyway. 
I can’t really go into much detail about the story because I don’t want to give too much away but I loved most of it. I felt so sorry for charlie when he had to go back to his doctors and the epilogue, wow, I wanted to snuggle up to him and tell him it would all be ok. I finished the book with a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and a brick squashing my heart. I really couldn’t believe how much this book effected me and I think it will affect a lot of readers. 
On another point Perks is being made into a movie and already from the Trailer I can tell things will be different from the book so I would recommend reading it before watching the movie. Sam looks nothing like Emma Watson in my head and Patrick looks a little edgier than Ezra Miller… but it should still be great! 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was first published in 1999, my copy was published in 2009 by Pocket Books and purchased via amazon. 

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  • I think I’m one of the very few people who didn’t enjoy this book. I never finished it. I just felt like there was TOO MUCH going on that I wasn’t able to get into the story. I’m glad you enjoyed it though and I will still be watching the film…

  • I’m so glad you loved this! I really need to re-read it before I see the film…

  • I NEED to read this! Everyone is telling me I should read it too – and I will try to before the film. Great review 🙂

  • I loved this book and the way it was written x