Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Written by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an epistolary novel that follows an introspective teenager who calls himself "Charlie" through his freshman year of high school in a Pittsburgh suburb. Having lost his closest friend in his last year of middle school, Charlie falls in with a new crowd of friends who help him navigate uncharted territory of high school and help him grow and learn more about himself.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those novels that perfectly captures what its like to be a teenager in high school who is trying to discover themselves. While I've never been a big fan of the first person perspective, I honestly believe it was the only way to write this book. Seeing the events of his life and the story through Charlie's eyes allows the reader to empathize with him and in a way, see a lot of themselves in the character. In many ways, I was and still am Charlie. I have had a number of tragedies happen in my life and each one of them has affected me in one way or another. When I was in high school, I was a rather shy kid who most people didn't noticed or ignored for one reason or another. Also, like Charlie, I luckily finally found a small group of friends who helped me come out of my shell and help me become the person I am today.

Speaking of friends, the second characters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower are equally well-written. Each of the characters actually feels like a real person that I could easily see myself meeting in real life or remind me of people that I actually know. I have had a few friends who were very similar to Patrick or Sam or Mary Elizabeth. While the story is focused on Charlie and his experiences, each of the main secondary characters also gets their time in the spotlight.

The only real complain I have with The Perks of Being a Wallflower is that I feel like the ending was a little weak. Maybe it has to do with my own trials with depression and my attempts to overcome it, but Charlie's turn at the end seem to convenient to me. When we learn about a major event that happened in his childhood, Charlie seems to get over it a little too quickly for me to fully buy into it, but again, this might be my own biases from my own dealings with depression and other similar disorders.

However, I would still highly recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower. If you ever had a rather rough spot during your later adolescence that ended up changing your life, you will find the story of the novel very easy to relate to and rather emotional at times. Even if you didn't have a troubled childhood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is still and enjoyable read and might change your perceptive on a few things from your adolescence.

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