The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age story centred around a young boy. The book begins with Charlie’s first day as a freshman as he tries to get over the death of his sort of friend Michael. He shuffles through everyday life observing, but really taking part, hence – wallflower. That is, until he meets Sam and Patrick two unusual third years with a thirst for life. They lead him into a world of drugs, sex, alcohol, but most importantly friendship. A coming of age story of emotional discovery.
If I’m honest, I’m really struggling to find anything to write about this book. I keep opening this blog post only to shut it again confounded.
The writing style irritated the hell out of me. And I think this was one of many reasons I didn’t like this book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a epistolary novel, a.k.a. it is made up of a set of letters written by our lead character, Charlie, to a mysterious unknown peer. Charlie for me, has the most frustrating narrative voice I have ever come across. He has the potential to be so great and unique but it just doesn’t work. The prose are painfully simple and jarring, they don’t flow well at all. There’s a disconnection somewhere along the way. He just grated on me throughout the entire novel. I hated his simplified way of viewing things. Chbosky makes all these comments that are supposed to be insightful, but with the exception of one they all felt so contrived to me. And not only contrived but unrealistic too, so none of them reallt hit me with that “wow” feeling. When I’ve read quoted alienated from the book itself on the internet, they come across so much better. But when they are part of the text, they just made me cringe.
This irritating genaralisation had me mentally screaming. The plot is also incredibly irritating. It felt as if Chbosky tried to squish into this novel every single coming of age situation a teenager could possibly go through: sex, alcohol, drugs, insecurity, sexuality, and unrequited love to name a few. It got to the point where it just became utterly ridiculous and unrealistic.
Unfortunately, the characters couldn’t save this book for me either. Once again, I found them contrived, and they felt more like caricatures than real people. But I still feel if this book was written in the normal format, I still wouldn’t have connected with them.
I honestly wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone, because I didn’t enjoy it at all. So instead, I’m going to point you in the direction of several other reviewers who loved this book and truly respect the opinion of, because it seems that I am missing something about this book that others have really enjoyed. And I hate the idea of potentially putting off a book that they might love.