Sunday, June 30, 2013

{2013 TBR Pile Challenge - Review} The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

ISBN #: 978-0671027346
Page Count: 213
Copyright: February 1, 1999
Publisher: MTV Books & Pocket Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from 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 years 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 sideline 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.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with her permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

I decided to read this book at the end of last year for this year's TBR pile reading challenge, as the movie had created some buzz because Hermione from Harry Potter was in it, but not playing Hermione, and many people had read it for the first time. My book club was supposed to read it but we are on hiatus for the summer.

So remember when you were in high school and you thought that EVERYTHING you did was so important and every word you said was steeped in meaning? That's kind of the vibe of this book about socially awkward Charlie, a freshman in high school, who chronicles the school year in a series of letters to an anonymous "friend." He becomes friends with senior siblings Patrick and Sam(antha). He falls in love with Sam but she doesn't want him to think of her "in that way." Blah blah high school drama.

This YA novel is on the favorite list of many, and I can see why. It perfectly encapsulates how big everything feels when you're young, and it's chock-full of many "deep thoughts" that, if I were sixteen years old, I'd probably have underlined and/or highlighted. It covers the banalities of family life, such as sibling tensions, family get-togethers and such, but also hints at some deeper issues, such as the relationship Charlie had with his deceased aunt Helen, and his sister's abusive relationship with her boyfriend.

As a 30-something woman, this book didn't hold as much significance for me as it might for someone younger. Sure, I remember high school (fondly, I might add), and I'm sure that I felt back then that I was as invincible, cool and important as these kids do. You know what's funny that I just realized? And not funny in a ha-ha way. But the book takes place in 1991-92, which was when I was in high school. I was a sophomore, a year older than Charlie, but I guess that kind of puts it a little bit closer to home for me. Charlie should be 36 years old now. I wonder how he feels when he thinks back about these days.

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