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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky (Author)

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11,468466235 ()329
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    lucyknows: Virgin Suicides is pretty heavy going however there are quite a few films about teenage angst they might work. Some are darker than others and some are quite old but they could work with Perks... Breakfast Club, Heathers, Girl Interrupted, Rebel without a cause, Footloose, The Year my Voice Broke, Donnie Darko, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.… (more)
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Summary: Due to stress from his up-coming freshman year in high school, Charlie begins writing letters to a person of unspecified gender and age because "she said" this person was a good listener and doesn't sleep with people at parties just because they can. What unfolds is a story of a naive young boy who learns to date and make friends; explore sexuality, drugs, and alcohol; and generally becomes self-aware during his freshman year in high school.

Review: Contemporary high school books are generally difficult to read because of difficult topics; however, this book was a smooth, easy read despite its dark content. Charlie's voice seemed a bit naive throughout the book, but I think this was purposefully written. Regardless of, or perhaps because of, Charlie's naivete, he was a sweet and charming character, and I truly cared about him by the end of the book.

I've heard great things about the movie, and am eager to see it. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Feb 15, 2015 |
A coming of age story about a boy named Charlie. The Perks Of Being a Wallflower was a pleasant and well written book. It gives its reader a glimpse of what some (all perhaps, unless you live a sheltered life)youngsters are faced with as a teenager (friendship, drugs and alcohol, sex, teenage pregnancy and abortion, heartbreak, sexual abuse, homosexuality, suicide, death and relationships). The book made me sad but it was a kind of sadness out of concern for Charlie. He never really seemed truly happy or even walked in true freedom. He was intelligent, socially awkward, tender hearted and more concerned about everyone else's happiness, which tugged at my heart. The ending explained a lot of who he was. It was the ending that left me feeling that Charlie was free to finally be himself. I enjoyed the book but I would only recommend this book to a mature audience. ( )
  Feleciak | Feb 12, 2015 |
First published at Booking in Heels.>

As it turns out, I had absolutely no idea what this book was actually about. I think I had a vague idea about a coming-of-age novel, something to do with a quiet teenager who finds new friends? While I wasn't strictly wrong (not that I'd ever admit to it if I was), there's a lot more to The Perks of Being A Wallflower than I expected.

Charlie is a slightly odd, quiet teenager who writes long letters detailing his life to the friend of a schoolmate, who he once heard was a decent person. He uses this as a sort-of journal and so we get to hear about the minor dramas that make up Charlie's life. I would have loved to learn more about the recipient of these letters - it's hardly the point of the story, but I do think that perhaps one letter in response would have tied the whole book up nicely.

It actually works really well. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's 'moving,' but there's a certain twist to Charlie's tone that lets you know that there's something undernearth the surface. I think I twigged fairly early on that he has some sort of mental illness, but then I do have a penchant for this kind of book. I loved that it never really felt the need to tell the reader exactly what Charlie has, thus avoiding the labels of 'mental health book.' This way Perks gets to remain a simple coming-of-age novel that's read and loved almost universally.

Charlie is perfect. Slightly naive to the point where you just can't help but want to help him out. I also think he represents a lot of our own teenage anxieties - not necessarily the drama present in his life, but the usual concerns about whether your friends actually like having you around and your parents discovering exactly how much you drank last weekend.

I had a harder time relating to some of the other characters, who don't really seem to be believable teenagers. I accept that they're two years older than Charlie, but they're so... liberal (diplomacy at its best) that it seems like they're already at college. No live-at-home teenager has that much freedom or quite as philosophical a world view.

Sam occasionally irritated me as I think she may be the least developed character, which is odd considering she's probably the second-most important. She reads more like a caricature of a person than any believable approximation, having very lofty ideals towards the end and it did feel like she took advantage of Charlie somewhat, which doesn't fit with everything else we'd been told about her values.

I did not see that ending coming and hadn't even been a little bit spoilered. While I didn't hate it and I don't object to it, I'm still not sure that it was strictly necessary especially as the narrative goes out of its way to state that It wasn't responsible for Charlie's difficulties. It does seem as if the purpose was primarily shock value and that does tend to irritate me.

I do think there's something here for everyone - every teenager who feels a little isolated from their peers, but also every adult who feels grateful that they never have to go through that awkward stage again! The Perks of Being A Wallflower deals with mental illness, sexual awakenings, anxiety, homosexuality, teenage relationships and probably a lot more. There's an awful lot packed into this seemingly simple book and, while it has its faults, I recommend it very highly. ( )
  generalkala | Feb 5, 2015 |
Although my high school experience was completely different from the protagonist's, I related to him. This book was a great opportunity to understand a different set of experiences and broaden my understanding. In the end I really cared about Charlie. He brought me to tears. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
I am probably literally one of the last people to read this book. And to be honest, I'm really only reading it because I saw and loved the movie, which in reality I only watched because Emma Watson was in it. So, I have to thank Emma for introducing me to this amazing book!

The premise is really sweat - a 16 year old boy who struggles through the world of high school and the turbulence of being a teenager. We can all relate - in all seriousness, how many people actually have a smooth time during their teens?

Through Charlie, we get to know these amazing characters, all who have their own problems and issues that people can relate to and learn from. There is someone in this book that you will definitely see yourself in, whether it be Charlie, his friends, or his family - you will find someone who you can relate to and form a connection with.

The touching aspect of this book is how Chbosky draws you into the story. Personally, I see two ways in which the reader becomes part of the story. The first is that, through reading Charlie's letters, you begin to embody Charlie as you read about his experiences. The second is that, through reading the letters also, you become the friend that Charlie is writing to, the friend who he can trust to write all these letters to because "you listen and understand." You care about Charlie and his life, and you desperately want to know what happens to this fictional boy who is writing letters to you - you become a part of the story. [I have to admit that I did shed a few tears near the end of the book.]

Pros: No matter who you are - whether you are a teenager just beginning to navigate the world of high school, or an adult who has survived these years - you will enjoy and find a connection with this book, and take something away from it.

Cons: Personally, I don't see many downfalls to this novel. However, there are aspects of the book (rape, molestation, suicide, depression and mental anxiety) that are dark and heavy, so readers should be warned that these topics do arise in the book. I would not recommend people under the age of 15-16 reading this.

Overall, I highly recommend that people read this book if they haven't already, or pick it up and read it again. It is a very touching story that proves you can make it through the tough teenage years, and that you shouldn't give up when life gets you down.

And don't just rely on the movie to tell you Charlie's story, live his story through the book, because you will develop a much deeper connection to the characters, and take away so much more.

{Written for My Books Are Me: www.mybooksareme.weebly.com} ( )
  MyBooks_AreMe | Jan 19, 2015 |
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For my family
First words
Dear Friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.
“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”
“Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse.”
And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn’t.
Because I guess we all forget sometimes. And I think that everyone is special in their own way. I really do.
The inside jokes weren’t jokes anymore. They had become stories. Nobody brought up the bad names or the bad times. And nobody felt sad as long as we could postpone tomorrow with more nostalgia.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671027344, Paperback)

What is most notable about this funny, touching, memorable first novel from Stephen Chbosky is the resounding accuracy with which the author captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender, a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles that many kids face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings:

I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why.
With the help of a teacher who recognizes his wisdom and intuition, and his two friends, seniors Samantha and Patrick, Charlie mostly manages to avoid the depression he feels creeping up like kudzu. When it all becomes too much, after a shocking realization about his beloved late Aunt Helen, Charlie retreats from reality for awhile. But he makes it back in due time, ready to face his sophomore year and all that it may bring. Charlie, sincerely searching for that feeling of "being infinite," is a kindred spirit to the generation that's been slapped with the label X. --Brangien Davis

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A coming of age novel about Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. He deals with the usual teen problems, but also with the suicide of his best friend.

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