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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 
 
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Features
  • High school

  • youth

  • Love

  • Friendship


Description

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. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.


Product Details
Author:Stephen Chbosky
Paperback:213 pages
Publisher:MTV Books
Publication Date:February 01, 1999
Language:English
ISBN:0671027344
Product Length:6.9 inches
Product Width:5.0 inches
Product Height:0.6 inches
Product Weight:0.45 pounds
Package Length:6.97 inches
Package Width:5.0 inches
Package Height:0.28 inches
Package Weight:0.35 pounds
Average Customer Rating: based on 6208 reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review:4.5 ( 6208 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

900 of 954 found the following review helpful:


5Startling, Gripping, and Absolutely Honest  Jun 30, 2000 By Emily
I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, in April of my sophomore year at college. A friend lent it to me and I had read it within twelve hours. This book reaches inside of you and pulls everything to the surface. It is a beautiful and painful story about a 15 year old boy, Charlie, moving through his freshmen year of highschool. It is written in letter form to an unknown friend. Charlie is always completely honest, whether he is describing his first "beer" party where he witnessed a girl being raped by her boyfriend, or explaining masturbation and his excitement for this newfound "activity." Charlie is a wallflower who observes people and feels very deeply for the experiences occuring around him. His favorite Aunt Helen died in a car accident when he was six, and he holds himself accountable, and his best friend committed suicide a year before he began the letters. His English teacher realizes Charlie's potential and brilliance and asks him to try and participate, which Charlie agrees to do. He becomes friends with two seniors Patrick and Samantha and begins to experience dances, parties, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, pot, love, bad trips and sexuality. We feel exhilerated when Charlie describes his happy moments, and we are swallowed in pain when Charlie is overwhelmed by his depression. Charlie's realizations are eye opening for us, and we are so captivated and immersed in his life that his life and stories become a very real experience. This book is about moments, and being as much alive within each moment as possible. It is about looking around us at the world and the people and appreciating that we don't know what their lives are like, and the pain and happiness that they experience day to day, so we shouldn't judge them but accept them and appreciate them. A favorite section of this book, for me, was when Charlie describes the movie It's A Wonderful Life, and how he wished the movie had been about one of the less heroic characters so the audience could have seen the meaning that this person's life held. That moment is just one example of Charlie's amazing intuition. This book should not be limited to a certain "category" of people. I truly believe that it would be understood, appreciated, and loved by everyone aged 12 (+ or - a few) and up regardless of gender, race, sexuality, etc. This book changes you, if only for a moment, but you are not the same upon completion, and you become more appreciative of life then ever.

169 of 192 found the following review helpful:


5Going through the tunnel  Dec 07, 1999 By Michael Rogers
When I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chybosky, I sat there in a stunned silence. The book was strongly powerful in a manner that diary or letter style books rarely achieve. There is usually a sense of implausibility in those types of books that Charlie's character completely negated. When trying to describe Charlie the mind suddenly reels, he's honest. Completely and utterly genuine in his perceptions and most of his actions. Charlie is also and emotional basket case that somehow manages to attract a special group of friends to him. A group of voluntary outcasts that go through the same problems teenagers face everywhere. Sex, drugs, relationships and acceptance figure heavily into everyone's lives, despite their personal beliefs on those subjects. I would like to mention Stephen's portrayal of Patrick, I was pleased to see the sbuject of homosexuality treated in such a plain manner. It was accepted as a fact and only the feelings invovled in the situations were important. I would recomment this book to a wide range of people, old or young, straight or gay, conservative or liberal. It was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed it immensely.

109 of 128 found the following review helpful:


5Bought it for my teenager, read it myself in one sitting  Jul 13, 2001 By 30acrewood
I bought this book for my 13 year old daughter but wanted to read it first to see if it is appropriate It is a wonderfully written book in which Charlie, a deeply sensitive boy, finds true friends and learns to live, to love, to lose, and move on. The author gives this boy a voice and it's magnificent. I so appreciate Charlie's depth of emotions. I have a sensitive, emotional son and will want him to read this book in a couple years. Suicide, homosexuality, infatuation, deep deep friendships, finding yourself and re-finding yourself are all themes in this book. The author captures "moments" of adolescence -- those incredible high moments that might last just minutes -- and makes them so real. If only more kids could put a voice to these feelings. One reviewer doesn't think this book captures adolescence in the 90's -- I don't know because I'm a Mom . . . but I don't care. Charlie deals with drugs, smoking, drinking, messing up friendships, feeling alone, and uncovers family problems he has to deal with. And he deals with it as a young man who can stand back, look at it all, and make decisions about what he has experienced. I want my daughter to read it, maybe now or maybe in a couple years, for the hope it left me with. Charlie survived being hopelessly in love with one of his best friends. It hurt and he felt it and it didn't defeat him. With everything thrown at kids in jr. high and high school this book might just help them survive it a little more intact. I think I'm going to go talk to my kids right now . . . .

10 of 11 found the following review helpful:


3Well written, but somewhat cliched  Apr 09, 2008 By Josh More "Entropologist - www.starmind.org"
This review contains spoilers

OK, seriously, how I could pass up a book with a title like The Perks of Being a Wallflower? Especially after I read the back and it painted a picture of a shy, gawky and confused highschool kid who had to deal with similar issues that I did during that time?

Well, at least that's what I thought I'd be reading. It started out good enough. The writing is amusing, and some of the teenage "insights" were downright hilarious. There were also a few bits here and there that were amazingly well done and surprisingly painful.

However, taken as a whole, it's a bit too busy and I lost the believability near the end. I don't doubt that a great many intelligent kids have social difficulties in high school (I know that my own experiences were... suboptimal)...

However, the concept that, in the course of one year, a kid can learn about sex and masturbation, get addicted to tobacco, experiment with marijuana and LSD, overcome his own self-esteem problems, deal with child molestation, witness a rape, witness physical abuse, deal with an abortion, have his first drink, etc etc etc... well, it seems contrived. (As is the concept of a kid that gets to be freshman, knows about sex, but has never masturbated before.)

Let me just say that a person can be interesting and have emotional issues resulting from intelligence and poor social skills without having to have been physically or sexually abused. It gets tiresome to read books where such a situation either launches the character on their journey, or (in the case of this book) it becomes a surprise twist at the end.

This book would have been so much better had the kid just been a really bright kid who "didn't get it". There's ample drama and angst in a normal well-adjusted teenager that it's unnecessary to create especially painful experiences for the reader. In many ways, this seems to be the easy way out.

The format is one that is easy to do wrong (collection of letters), but works in this case because the writing style is believable for the type of character writing it... and it's all written by one person, so you don't have the problem of tracking dialogue that often results such such a format.

All in all, the writing is good, and there are some very well written and evocative bits. However, I don't recommend that anyone make it a point to read this one. More importantly, I don't recommend that any angsty teenagers read it at all... it's not likely to help (and could well hinder).

28 of 35 found the following review helpful:


2Unrealistic  Jan 18, 2005 By Suzie Bonem
Okay, this book was not the be-all, end-all of YA literature that some previous reviewers seem to think it was. It wasn't complete trash - the author obviously made an attempt to tap into that crazy world we call adolescence.

However, it fell short of the mark for me, and I'll be fifteen in a week, so I think I would have some clue about what's really going on in our minds.

For one thing, Charlie's view of life was incredibly simplistic and did not leave a lot of room for self-revelation or growth of any kind. Basically, he was the nice, somewhat reserved guy who had the misfortune of watching other people foul up, until he joined them. Then, they still kept being human, you know, doing "teen" stuff, breaking up, getting high, except that he joined them and uncovered something painful and repressed about himself along the way. I won't say anything more plot-wise, but in terms of how "universal" this book is, I really don't see it. The characters seemed to serve no purpose except help (or sometimes not help) Charlie feel better about himself and the situations he was put through, which were, save for maybe two instances, ridiculously contrived.

If you're expecting Catcher in the Rye, forget it. This book does not even come close to touching Salinger's masterpiece, because of the predictable banality of its lead character, who seems to be a "prodigy" and yet doesn't come close to the writing talents of many sixteen year olds I know. Hell, I'm a year younger than the guy, and he makes ME look like Kafka.

There is nothing "universal" about transcribing events of adolescence that we may or may not have experienced. What makes Salinger (vs Chbosky) so great is he does so in a way that's actually realistic, i.e. hypocrisy, cynicism, and a view of life that isn't so Mister Rogers. Most of us can't be some kind of saints as days pass on this complicated, very unpredictable world.

The book just felt like it was set somewhere else, somewhere we've all seen before and yet doesn't really exist. It's not a completely wasted effort, as there were a few moments that were quite touching and unexpectedly so, but in my opinion, the author could take a few lessons from J.D. before spouting off another caricature.

See all 6208 customer reviews on Amazon.com

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