Monday 8 June 2015

The Perks of Being a Wallflower // Review

I'm literally failing sooo badly in terms of my 2015 book review challenge, but today I'm back with a book based on, or turned into, a film. As you can see from the title I've gone with The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which is a Bildungsroman, which happens to be my favourite word. It means coming of age novel, if you didn't know!

Perks, as I'm going to refer to it henceforth, was published way back in 1999. It focuses on Charlie, a shy lil' thing who shares his teenage experiences through a series of delicate and thoughtful letters to... To who, exactly? The letters are anonymous, which is probably some sort of clever metaphor, but it works really well as it means our protagonist isn't afraid to open up about anything and everything.

In terms of themes, there are so many touched upon in Perks. Most broadly, the dreaded "growing up" - obviously, it's a coming of age novel, and it does have some of those cliché teenage things in there that a lot of YA writers are so keen to throw in our eager young faces. But it goes way beyond that, too, brushing past drugs and sexuality and being an introvert: annoyingly, Chbosky has a tendency to romanticise these things. Then again, it was the 90s, and everyone romanticised everything. It's a story of first love and new music and Secret Santa. It's a story of favourite books, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and late night drives.

Chbosky writes beautifully: his imagery is so powerful and his characters have been created in such a special way - Charlie and his friends are each unique in a startling and lovely way, and they all bring something fascinating to the book, an insight into the world from their own perspectives. Through school days and party nights we see Charlie's character evolve from a background piece to being at the forefront of the action. We learn about his struggles, sure, we all have 'em, but nevertheless it's a beautiful coming of age story that I'd recommend to anyone!

Like I mentioned, it's been made into a film - it stars the gorgeous Logan Lerman who does a fabulous job of portraying Charlie and it's well worth a watch. Have you read or seen the Perks of Being a Wallflower?


  1. This is next up on my list. I've been wanting to read it for such a long time but i've never gotten round to it! I'm working my way back now through all the books i've missed; i've just finish To Kill A Mockingbird and I absolutely loved it.

    Antonia x | Fifi and the Diamonds

  2. I've read this and wasn't sure, you're right the imagery is great! But yes he romanticised a lot of it... and I actually found the characters so annoying and self absorbed, I'm sure I wasn't like that at that age! But I didn't know it was written in the 90s so that might be why! Maybe teens were more ignorant in the 90s! I wrote a review of it a while back, I should really add in that it was published in 1999! And FAB word! No wonder it's your fave word hehe :P xo
    amber love