The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This book, along with The Fault In Our Stars (which I recently finished), is a great representation of the way a young adult book should be. The book is not about vampires or teenagers fighting for their lives or the lives of their districts. The book is about teenagers as they navigate through life.

The reason, I feel, the book appeals to young adults and adults alike is because the characters described in the book and the events and emotions that they experience are familiar to young adults and adults alike as well. Who doesn’t know what it feels like to go to a party and feel unnoticed? There is one really well written scene where the main character, Charlie, exclaims that he feels “infinite” at that very moment and that, essentially, everything feels right.

That is a feeling that I get and I love it when I find that an author can draw me in by describing a moment that I have lived through myself. And, it is intriguing that, even though Charlie experiences more tragedy and hardship than most, we can still feel a sense of solidarity with him.

Because the novel is set up as a series of letters from Charlie to an unknown, Perks was great to listen to because it was as if your were simply listening to someone read their letters. The narrator did not really have to perform other voices because the only voice in the story was Charlie himself. The narrator did do a good job of capturing the spirit of a teenage boy and making the character’s innocence apparent.

I watched the movie after finishing the book so that I could comment on the movie’s ability to do justice to the book. I felt that the movie was cast fairly well in spite of the fact that Emma Watson’s English accent kept slipping in. I really liked the actor that was chosen for the character of Patrick. I didn’t like it that in the movie the character of Patrick was bullied at school. While the book does describe Charlie, Sam, and Patrick as social outcasts, they, for the most part (with the exception of the fight), go unnoticed in their high school. Without saying too much about what happens in the story, in the book, Charlie, is himself confused about his childhood and his life so the events described are at times confusing. I saw that, even on goodreads, readers are unclear about what had been revealed in the end. I think that the movie achieved that sense of confusion as well but I didn’t like what the movie made me confused about at the end. Except for a few details that I think that the movie got wrong (like the fact that Charlie was a good student and knew all of the answers in English class), I did like the movie and felt like it effectively told the story.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook

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