Sunday, July 14, 2013

"The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" - Book Review

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix 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. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. 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.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My Review:

I'm not even entirely sure where to begin with this book. Though this book was only 213 pages it took me over a week to read it. That's not a good thing. I was really looking forward to reading this book because of everyone raving about it so much. I'm an avid tumblr user and for the longest time you could not scroll down your dashboard without encountering a quote or picture from The Perks Of Being A Wallflower movie. When movie adaptations are made from books I try to read the book first before watching the movie. This was a case where I actually saw the movie first but I'm glad I did because if I had read the book first I would not have even thought about watching the movie afterwards.
It was like Chbosky was trying to squeeze as much heavy subject material as possible into this little book. Like he was trying to make The Perks Of Being A Wallflower really heavy but in the end it just turned the book into a drag to read. Drugs, sex, rape, child molestation, underage drinking, homosexuality, and pretty much anything else considered as 'heavy subject material' will most likely be found within the covers of this tiny novel. Normally, I don't mind reading books with heavy subject material but this book be quite frank, was ridiculous to me because of the fact that it was touching all of these subjects all at once and not concentrating very long on any of them for a long enough period of time. Basically the best metaphor I can think  of for this book would be this; The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is much like a glass of water with a drop put in it of a bunch of different colors of dye, there are so many different dye colors going on it just turns a slightly murky color.
The only things about Charlie that I could relate to were the feeling of not belonging anywhere and the depression/anxiety. Back in my freshman year of high school, much like Charlie, my depression and anxiety were at an all time high due to a number of things. Chbosky did a good job capturing depression like an ever-present darkness that follows you and consumes you at any given moment, and how it's so hard to try and escape it because it disables you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I can count on my hand the number of moments in the book that I actually did like. Another thing that really annoyed me about this book was the fact that someone, some character, was crying on almost every page. You can't flip a page without seeing 'he cried' or 'she cried' or 'I cried'. It's somewhat understandable that Charlie cries a lot due to certain aspects of the novel that I won't disclose to prevent spoilers, but even then this book gives Charlie the emotional range of a cucumber. He's either feeling a bittersweet kind of happy or he's crying. Most of the time in this book he's crying.
Even though I don't have very many good things to say about this book I will say that the movie was really good and I really enjoyed it. As both a movie and book lover I think it's really sad when a movie adaptation is either way better than the book or is so terrible it's a disgrace to the book. In the case of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower it's the first case. All I know is that I didn't enjoy this book enough to not read another one of Stephen Chbosky's books, that's for sure.


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