I know that The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky is a relative old book with a cult following, but I’ve never read it before. This summer, I’m trying to read hyped books that I for some reason never picked up, so this seemed like as good a time as any.
Charlie may not be the biggest geek in school, but he is definitely not the most popular, even among the freshman. Due his shyness and an intelligence that goes beyond his age, he is socially awkward. He is wallflower and is constantly caught in a struggle between “participating” and running away. He attempts to navigate the world of first dates, family drama, and new friends while stepping out of the shadows.
You might be wondering why I have such a low rating, yet I’m recommending this book. Here’s the thing: it’s a widely acclaimed book, and I didn’t hate. I recognize that it’s a beautifully written book and incredibly poignant, but I just couldn’t bring myself to love it. However, I suspect this has more to do with my personal tastes, and I’m relatively sure that most of you would actually lie this book. One of the things that bothered me the most was Charlie himself. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to lots of strong independent main characters, but it bothered me when Charlie just let people step over him. While I understand that this is the premise of the book, I just felt an urge to shout at him every time he just acquiesced instead of sticking up for himself. I did love the other characters though, like Patrick and Sam, but especially Sam. She had a wonderfully outgoing personality, and those are typically the types of people I like to read about. I did also love the format of the book: it was all written in letters to a “friend,” which made it feel more personal. The events of the story were very realistic; they almost felt like they could be everyday happenings. Again, this is my personal taste, but it felt too mundane for me. I did like the ending, which had a powerful message, and I felt like it really showed Charlie’s growth. That being said, I feel like Charlie didn’t really change much until the very last part of the book, whereas I might have liked a more gradual progression.
All in all, while this isn’t my type of book, I do urge you to read it and form your own opinion. I am looking forward to watching the movie though. I mean, Emma Watson!