Stephen Chbosky is an American novelist and screenplay writer, who is best known for his book The Perks of Being a Wallflower and screenplays for Rent (film) and Jericho (TV series). The Perks of Being a Walflower were published in 1999 and since then have been turned into a film starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller and received a lot of love from fans.
The Perks of Being a Walflower is a coming of age story, the protagonist is young Charlie who has suffered a couple of emotional episodes in his past and need to rediscover himself as his best friend commits a suicide. Now Charlie, known as the weird kid, has to find new friends and discover his first kisses, sexual, alcohol and drug experiences to really understand why he is the way he is.
Right off the bat I have to say that this book seems like a really good material for teens to read… Or perhaps those who haven’t ‘done it all’ yet, but honestly, seeing my 30th birthday in not so far future (well, I guess 3.5 years is a bit far), I did not really enjoy the book as I would have ten years ago. I am almost certain that the book would get a lot better rating and review from me at that point. But… oh well, some books come to you too late.
First about the things I liked!
I loved the format – this book is written in a diary/letter type of format, which works surprisingly well and gives a lovely edge to the writing, characters and the protagonist’s point of view. I do not think that there has been a book yet, where I’ve felt so strongly about the diary form the be the perfect way of telling it – now there is. This is it.
Now, talking about the content – I really enjoyed Charlie’s father’s ‘wear a condom’ speech, which was to the point, not only covering the basics of the physical protection, but also going into details, like, ‘if she says “no”, you must assume she means “no”‘ – I thought that was brilliant and it also shows a huge problem in the modern relationship culture. Yet, unfortunately the people who would assume that ‘no means yes’ usually don’t read books, so there’s that.
And then there was the cool teacher – a great character, usually most of the students have at least one like it in their lives.
The book talks about a lot of issues, not only in teenager’s, but also kid’s and, I guess, at some points also adult’s life. And that is really a treasure to have, it goes through a lot of things that teenagers do and the ability to connect to this book should be amazing, if you are the correct age or at the correct point in life.
But as I’m starting to feel older and older with every sentence I type, I didn’t really connect to the book. I found it at points quite boring. There were a lot of drugs and alcohol and smoking, which I really do not like much at all. And I’m not talking as an adult here, I just generally haven’t really liked much of all that, especially because the alcohol they do in the book is definitely not on my ‘tasty list’ and smokes and drugs haven’t really gotten the love from me, comparing to the book.
I didn’t like how weird and ‘deep’ the characters were made… or I guess ‘adult’ is the right word – I didn’t like how adult, yet immature the characters were made. I sometimes felt like literary a character would drop some meaningful thought and everyone would talk about it and then they would suddenly turn into toddlers and want candy (not actual events, just how it felt to me).
Really, I just wish I would have read it earlier. I haven’t seen the film and am not sure, if I will, but the book received two stars from me on my goodreads page. And I would suggest all the teenagers to read it and I guess no matter what parents want, they will not protect their children from trying drugs, smokes or alcoholic beverages, or sex, so they shouldn’t feel worried that their kids read this book.
That’s my view on the book and I know that a lot of people love it and are very into it, but unfortunately it was a bit of a bore for me. Nevertheless, let me know your thoughts in the comments bellow! Cheerio for now!