Sunday 7 October 2012

Book Review - The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: 3 Aug 1999
ISBN13: 9780671027346

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed 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. 

My Review
With the upcoming Movie release and the fact it stars Emma Watson, i thought the film trailers looked good and I decided I wanted to see it, so i would have to read the book first (that's just how my mind works, if there is a book available I read it before I see the film)
I decided to pick this up this morning as I wanted a fairly quick read and this is only 200 pages so I got stuck in.
The book follows Charlie as he enters Freshman year of school and he isn't looking forward to it, one of his only friends commited suicide at the end of last year and he lost his Aunt in an accident. He has always been a bit strange but now he is definitely on the outside. He is writing letters to an annonymous source describing his life, trying to make sense of everything. He makes friends with Sam and Patrick and starts to explore more of the world. First love, drugs, sex, new books and experiences.
Charlie was a strange character, he is defintely not normal and quite an outsider, part of me really liked him, his individuality and his thoughtfulness. The fact he wouldn't rush into situations, his calm presence mixed with moments of panic. His writing/life came over as very disjointed but reflected the teenage life well. I did get annoyed a bit by how many times he starts to cry, whether happy or sad he just randomly bursts into tears. How many fifteen year olds do you know that suddenly start crying in public? for no real reason? For sure if Charlie was around in this time he would be so bullied at school.
I liked Patrick and Sam, they were great individuals and really bought some different personalities to to book. 
This book certainly has a lot packed into it's short 200 pages - suicide, abuse, rape, drugs, sex, abortions, bullying, fights, exams, depression. Have I forgotten anything? It sometimes felt like a bit much but then again added to the whole atmosphere.
I'm really not sure if I liked this book or not, I read it in one sitting as it was short but I can't say I was enthralled. I definitely wouldn't have liked it as a Teenager, and I was a mixture of intrigued and bored whilst reading this.
I still want to see the film as I'm intrigued to see how they would transfer it from anonymous letters in a book to a full length film. How would that work? 
I know a lot of people have fallen in love with this book, for me I'm glad I read it but I don't think I would ever read it again.
I did love the music references though, it's great to discover some new music. 

This book is quite open with it's descriptions and I wouldn't recommend younger teens reading it. Parents may want to be aware.

My Rating


Celeste said...

I'm the same way too. If there is a book that the movie is based on I want to read the book before seeing the movie.

barmybex said...

Definitely seems to be a trend with readers. :D