Author: Stephen Chbosky (Pub’d by Simon and Schuster; OUT NOW; Format – Print and Ebook)
Verdict: Lives up to the taglines of ‘moving’, ‘relatable, and ‘funny’. A great book for teenage readers.
Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower may have been written in the late nineties, but it’s amazing how popular this book has recently become. I really loved the film starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman but, as with most adaptations, the book is far better.
Charlie, a high school freshman is sensitive and insecure. Extremely introverted, and unsure whether he will make friends, he meets a group of misfits, who soon turn out to be the best friends he’s ever had.
Despite Charlie’s freshman standing, Sam and Patrick (both seniors) dismiss the age difference and the three bond over their outsider status, thus making them Wallflowers. With the help of the older students, and his very encouraging English teacher, Charlie learns about music, literature, love and friendship, and the resulting emotional journey gives the novel a moving and affecting core.
The novel’s fundamental success lies within the fact that many teenagers will be able to relate to Charlie; the new discoveries of adolescence in the form of sex, drugs and ‘rock’n’roll’. These recognisable experiences coupled with his troubling childhood tragedies make Charlie an incredibly empathetic character.
Chbosky’s story is not too dissimilar to other coming-of-age novels such as Lock and Key (Sarah Dessen) or Looking for Alaska (John Green), but nevertheless, we are enamoured with the epistolary style in which the story is written. Charlie’s comforting letters to his ‘friend’ are the reader’s insight into the progression of his life; from a shy ‘nobody’ to a much loved ‘wallflower’. They effectively tell the story and warm the hearts of readers.
Overall, it’s a fantastic read, and I would definitely recommend it to all!
By Danny Andrew-Lynch