Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age

Publication date: January 1999

Pages: 231

Source: Bought it

Rating: 5 stars out of 5


According to Goodreads

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.


We accept the love we think we deserve

Written in letter form, The Perks of Being A Wallflower follows the story 15 year old Charlie in his freshman year of high school.  He experiences a variety of universal teen firsts: first date, first kiss, first dance, etc.  I would have to say that I actually regret reading this book a bit too late.  My friend recommended this to me ages ago, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until my first year in university.  Though, I was never like Charlie in high school, I found myself relating to his situation.  He is such an endearing character and I couldn’t help but love him for it.  As you read, you get to see how innocent and naive he is.  I also love his bluntness, which on rare occasions has caused me to laugh out loud as I read.  He deals with issues like love, having a gay friend, dealing with death, and sexual assault, and also shares his love of music and literature which I honestly believe are two things that are being lost on youth today.

The plot of the book is really simple.  It was not action-packed which I usually prefer in the young adult genre books.  Nevertheless, I found it such a great read–it was emotional, deep, and realistic.  It is filled with different themes and messages that I could definitely find myself relating to.  Moreover, there are endless quoteable quotes in this book and here are just some that I really loved:

So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.

I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have.

It’s much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and than make the choice to share it with other people. You can’t just sit their and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. And we could all sit around and wonder and feel bad about each other and blame a lot of people for what they did or didn’t do or what they didn’t know. I don’t know. I guess there could always be someone to blame. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it’s okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite.

Charlie makes you really think about the good things in life and what truly matters.  His character is young and the way he expresses himself comes across as simple; however, his messages are deep and heartfelt and his thoughts are so uniquely profound that they take a minute to digest. He never complains and find himself pitiful.  Yes, he cries a lot but he has his reasons. He’s not perfect and doesn’t claim to be. In fact, he doesn’t claim to be anything because he’s more focused on the well being of others.  Although, Charlie may not be exactly an excellent role model for teenagers, he let us know that it’s okay to be different, that friends comes in all kinds of packages, and to always remain true to yourself.   I honestly can’t even express into words how much I love this book so overall I would definitely recommend this for anyone–teenager or not.


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