Rating: 3.5 / 5
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky has quite the fan base, so it really needs no introduction. It has over a million reviews on Goodreads alone! It was recommended time after time for various reading challenge prompts I’ve done over the past couple years, so it has been on my TBR, but has never managed to make it to the top of the pile. Having recently found a copy at my local used bookstore, it seemed that the Reading Rush prompt to read and watch a book/movie pairing was the time to finally read it!
This book is described on Goodreads as “the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school”. Written in the form of letters from the protagonist Charlie to an unknown friend, Charlie tells the story of his freshman year in high school. Charlie isn’t a guy who fits in well. He is socially awkward and he comes across on the page as a bit younger emotionally than his actual age. I don’t think it is explicitly stated, but many feel that Charlie’s character is on the autism spectrum. Befriended by a couple of seniors, Charlie finally has a group to belong to. Within the span of the year, Charlie is exposed to the world of dating, sex, drugs and the mind warping Rocky Horror Picture Show.
There was a lot to love in this story and I’ve enjoyed watching the film adaptation. Charlie is a guy who says what he thinks without any real fear of the consequences and he wins over friends and readers alike. I think my hold up on giving this one top billing is that it almost hits too many deep issues. There are trigger warnings for drugs, homophobia, suicide, mental illness, abortion, child abuse, etc. With so many difficult subjects hit on, it didn’t feel like much depth could be given to any of them.
I am very glad to have finally read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER for the Reading Rush challenge. I have already added Chbosky’s new book (out in October) to my TBR, though it seems quite the departure from this novel!