Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky)

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: YA, LGBTQ
Pages: 213
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Challenges: GLBT, YA
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the back of the book): 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.

Review: I have heard so much about this book, especially since it is always on the Banned Books List. I'm always up for a banned book reading! Don't people who try to censor or ban understand that the act of banning makes something more interesting, intriguing, and sought-after? Anyway...

I really enjoyed the letter format of this book as the letters truly reveal Charlie's experiences, thoughts, and feelings. At first I really wanted to know to whom he was writing, but about half way through realized it didn't matter. Charlie pours out his everything into these letters, giving the reader great insight into his freshman year in high school. And what a year it was: experimenting with drugs and drinking (though not thinking of it as experimenting), starting to like girls and go on dates, learning to love reading and writing and having a teacher who really cares.

From page one I was swept up in Charlie's life and wanted things to go well for him. It isn't that Charlie is the biggest nerd over or that he is hugely socially awkward (ok, maybe he is), it's that he is just beginning to navigate all the ins and outs of socializing. Meeting up with an accepting and tolerant group of seniors is just what he needed to feel accepted and okay with himself. He doesn't totally get there, but by the end of the book he is certainly on his way.

I thought the situations and friendships as well as the difficulties the characters experienced were really true-to-life and handled well by the author. I found myself rooting for Charlie, that he would figure out that he is a good guy and really can get through it all without too many stumbles along the way.

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

Hi Helen!
Oh, I never noticed this book on The Banned Book List! That of course, as you said, is going to make this an intriguing choice, but just a story of surviving high school seems like a worthwhile read! Thanks for sharing this! I am putting in on my TBR list and will probably read it during Banned Book Week!

Have a great week!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Suzanne--Great one to read during BBW! It's a quick read as well with so much going on in it.

Aths said...

I wonder why this book is banned.. anyways, it sounds really good!

jehara said...

I have had this on my bookshelf for a few years now. I think it's time I finally pick up this book.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--It was banned (or people tried to ban it) due to homosexuality, language, drugs/alcohol use by minors, and discussion of sex

Jehara--It's a quick read and really interesting; take it off the shelf! :-)

Marie said...

I didn't know it was banned! I heard so many good things about this! I have yet to read it though :)