I just finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chobsky. I’m not going to hide spoilers this time.
“Charlie’s not the biggest geek in high school, but he’s by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent, yet socially awkward, Charlie is a wallflower, standing on the threshold of his life whists watching everyone else live theirs. As Charlie tries to navigate his way through uncharted territory - the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends - he realizes that he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. There comes a time when you have to see what life looks like from the dance floor.”
I was really really really hoping to like this. I really was.
But honestly, I didn’t :(
And I really hate not liking books and writing more negative reviews ;-;
Okay so TPOBAW was from Charlie’s point of view - a 15-year-old teenager who is writing letters to you, as a ‘friend’. Through these letters, he basically gives you an overview of his freshmen year, telling you about his experiences.
I felt like the letters were written like a 10-year-old, by a 15-year-old, about college problems. (Well, the events like this only ever happened with the really popular kids at school. I was sorta a wallflower in high school, kinda, and the last thing I wanted to do was get involved with the populars.) He really was like a kid, constantly asking ‘why’ and doing things without an obvious purpose.
And he cries. A lot. For everything.
So basically the book starts off with him saying that his best friend killed himself, and he has to go to a psychiatrists. Then, the whole book feels like he’s just existing through everyday life in a state of shock.
What bothered me is his... un-reactiveness. I mean I know he’s having a hard time, and that his friends are all 18 who kind of drag him into a world of partying and smoking... but he just mentions thing almost... blandly. One part that really stuck out to me was when he just almost casually mentions that he witnessed a girl... being forced to do stuff that she obviously didn’t want to do. I dunno, that really bothered me. He didn’t feel like an introverted shy wallflower, in my opinion. And even when he learns how to ‘see life from the dance floor’, it doesn’t seem like he’s doing any better.
I feel like this book had too many serious topics crammed within the 200 pages. Seriously, the only thing missing was someone having HIV/AIDS or cancer, and that would have been everything. Abuse, alcohol, drugs, suicide, depression... you name it, and it was probably there. And none of these topics were more than mentioned. Just... no.
Of course this book was unique and unpredictable in many ways. I liked the characters that had many dimensions to them, like Sam and Patrick. I think that they really ‘saved’ the book for me. But I was really surprised when Sam left for college, and Charlie basically ended up so unresponsive and depressed that he ends up at the hospital for two weeks. It’s like he doesn’t have a backbone, and that Sam was what was holding him up after his friend died. But we know that that’s not the case, because he has other friends as well, and he was okay before he met her.
I don’t know, I feel like this book didn’t click with me for some reason. I understand the intent of having a somewhat depressed wallflower’s point of view, but I personally would have enjoyed the story if it was just in regular prose, and in the 3rd person. I do understand why may people enjoyed this book so much! I just couldn’t ‘bond’ to it like many people could. Sure, some parts were adorable and moving, but I just felt like the book as a whole was a bit removed from everything. I guess that that is what was intended, as wallflowers are typically ‘removed’ from society.
I’m sadly giving this just 2 feathers.
Did you read the perks of being a wallflower? What did you think? Let me know! :D
(also yes, I realize this review isn’t great, I’m sorry!)