The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Happy Friday everyone !

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 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. But Charlie 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. Summary from Amazon


What a beautiful book !
I read it mainly in the tube and I couldn't stop crying, which really doesn't help my social life by the way. The book is at times incredibly funny, and at others very touching (crying your heart out kind of touching). Charlie is one of a kind and his story is about growing out of one's shell rather than growing up and about finding people who would be the kind of people to like and accept one person no matter how strange and alien they are.

The book is composed of letters that Charlie writes to a stranger. Stranger to the reader, but most certainly stranger to Charlie too. It is very well written and you get taken by surprise by Charlie's way of seeing things and you grow so fond of him you just wish he could exist so that you could take him in your arms which doesn't help my social life either.

Charlie is a sweet, innocent and clueless teenager. At the beginning of the story, one of Charlie's friends has committed suicide and it is clear throughout the story that it had a very deep effect on him, as well as his Aunt Helen's death. All of these tragedies seem to be too much for Charlie's little shoulder, but the he reveals throughout the book to be more courageous than you would think.

I like the relationship between Charlie and his friends, as well as Charlie and Sam in particular (who are you calling hopeless romantic?!). Charlie's relation with his family is very sweetly portrayed, and I found it very touching.
I also like how the theme of homosexuality in high school is presented through the character of Patrick, Charlie's friend. It is interesting to read about the pressure that is put on young boys about "being a man" and where being gay isn't accepted. 

I also like the small parenthesis on how girls are treated by guys in relationships in high school: being raped, ending up pregnant and getting dumped for it, being cheated on etc. and how they are put in contrast with other characters and situation that show the complete opposite: Charlie and Sam, Bill and his girlfriend, Charlie's parents etc.

As a passionate fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I would have loved to be with Charlie, Sam and Patrick every Friday night to sing along and dress up as characters of the film !! I didn't really say that, did I ?! On a more serious note, I like the literary references made in the book, not only because I have read and liked most of these books, but because they are important books that need to be read and reflected upon. Charlie's teacher, Bill, is an amazing character and I like how teaching Charlie has changed things for him as well as for Charlie.

I know that the book has several references to sex and drugs, but I think that the message isn't "take drugs" or "have sex young is great", it is more about friendship, family, love and growing up. The situations faced by all the characters are faced by millions of teenagers every day, and it is interesting to see how the characters went on with their lives after these.

This book reminded me of a few other things so if you liked this book, you might want to check out:

The novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005) which is a heartbreaking and very original novel about a young boy who lost his father in the World Trade Centre and goes on a quest in New York, learning more about his family and himself on the way. A must read.

The film Rocket Science with the very talented Anna Kendrick about a 15 years old boy who stutters but decides to join the debate club in high school after having a crush on one of the members.

The film Charlie Bartlett with Robert Downey Jr and Kat Dennings on a teenager who starts giving therapeutic advice and prescription drugs to his fellow classmates in order to become popular.

The song Lean on me by Bill Withers, I have no idea why in particular, just because it's the feeling I had after reading the book.

Did you think that the drugs and sex make it a bad book for Young Adult or do you think it's essential for kids to know this sort of things ?

Don't forget to check out my Werewolf Giveaway, ends May 31st !!


  1. Famtastic review! I really loved this book too.

    I think drugs and sex have to be included in YA because they are both a part of the life of teens, whether adults like it or not.

  2. This sounds like a great book, it's going on my TBR list.

    I agree, drugs, sex, and all that other stuff have to be a part of YA if authors want it to be realistic.

  3. I love the style of this review. All your little asides made me chuckle.

    I have it on very good authority that you hve a great social life. I hear youget to go to book launch parties and everything!!! (LOL)

    I really like the sound of this book. The format sounds interesting too.

  4. I just reviewed this book recently and it's now one of my favorite YA books! I don't think drugs and sex in a YA book are bad for teens as long as they aren't glamorized. Drugs and sex are a fact of life and teens deal with these issues very early on, whether adults want to admit it or not (and if they don't want to admit it, that's just weird, as they were once teens and went through the same experiences). Great review!

  5. Yay I'm so glad you liked this one - it's one of my absolute favourite books of all time. It's so beautiful. Brill review :) x

  6. I've heard a lot of good things about this book, but I couldn't finish it. When you were reading the book did you ever feel like it was all just a bit TOO MUCH? I don't mean just that there's sex and drugs, but the sex and drugs together with the suicide, depression, rape, abuse, coming to terms with sexuality and peer pressure. Was that just me that felt overwhelmed by it all?