Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Book + Movie)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Name: Perks of being a Wallflower
Author: Stephan Chbosky
PublicationFebruary 1st 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books
Source: Purchased

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


I've had my eye on this book for a little while. I mean, It's short, a stand alone and people have been raving about it. Why wouldn't you pick it up?

I'll tell you why.

Usually people rave about things that other people rave about. And those people rave about the things that the media is raving about. Because seriously-- this book was  released in 1999. I have NEVER once heard anyone speak of this novel until recently when word of the movie, that is backed up by MTV, was released. Does the sound of media intervention sound familiar to anyone?

I had a couple issues with The Perks of Being a Wallflower , but there were some things which I liked. 
First and foremost-- Charlie pissed the shit right out of me. Yes, I understand that he's supposed to be shy and awkward, and kind of oblivious/naive because of what happened in his past...But there is a point of stupidity that once you pass, you shouldn't be leaving the house at all. Charlie drove past the line on a motor bike, I'll tell you. 
I don't care how many 'bad' ( for a lack of a better word without spoiling ) things have happened to you-- If you tell a girl that you had a dream of her naked, and tell her that you think of her in 'that way' all the time, you are SERIOUSLY ill. Yikes. The author pushed Charlies mental instability a little too far. No one is that awkward/stupid. Well, I'm sure some people out there are, but they don't go to high school and take AP English. 
I LOVED Patrick. He was my drive to finish this utterly short and utterly boring novel. He cracked unnecessary jokes that made me laugh, he was well developed and an actual working brain, thank god. I liked Sam as well. Her struggles which inter-wound with Charlie's made the story way more entertaining!

As for the plot, I felt that the novel was just going in circles most of the time. It was supposed to be about Charlie "finding himself", when really, all he did was act like he belonged back in elementary when everyone was afraid to touch because of koodies. He let loose a little with Mary-Elizabeth, but it didn't make up for his mind-boggling stupidity throughout the rest of the book. 

From what I've read, people have either really loved the book or really hated it. If you can appreciate a story with no real plot, a main character with alot more naivety than normal and an outcome that hardly makes the rest of the story make sense... this might be the book for you.  

Movie Comparison

I enjoyed the movie WAY more than the book. They cut out all the right parts (Naked dreaming wasn't in there... THANK GOD) to make it a great movie, and added a little intelligence on Charlies part to make him believable. The characters were far more interesting and the story was fun and easy to follow; unlike the book. I'm glad they did what they did to it otherwise I doubt that it would have been successful on the big screen. Definitely a 3.5-4 star movie, compared to the 2 star book. Usually I don't say this, but... Watch the movie, SKIP the book!

Special Thanks to Simon & Schuster, for sending the Advanced Screening passes & Kristilyn of Reading in Winter for taking me along! 

What are your thoughts about this novel?


  1. I liked the movie. Patrick was the best part for me; he was really funny!

    I almost wish the naked dream part was in the movie, just so I could have seen your reaction. ;)

    It was great to meet you!

    1. ahahaha that would NOT have been good ;)

      It was great meeting you as well, Megan! :)

  2. Aww, Rola, it's sad you kind of hated the book and Charlie because I loved the book and Charlie. BUT I did really enjoy reading your thoughts, anyways. And I'm glad you at least liked the movie more. I was also planning on writing a movie review for this one sometime.

  3. What? no 5 stars? You are harder to please than me! :-)
    I liked it but then again, I was very young when I read it. I might go watch the movie to refresh my memory although you can never trust the move, they follow the book very wickedly...

  4. I'm with you, the movie was way better than the book in this case, which does not happen often. For me I just couldn't get into the writing because of how naive Charlie came across, I can't really comment because I didn't get past the first chapter which is like 8 pages in LOL Great review chick!