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 year 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 sidelines 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.

I honestly don’t know what it is with this book. I’ve read it once before but it had so little impression on me that I remembered only the vaguest details about it. I get the feeling I’ll experience the same thing this time around once homework is finished on the subject. The book is well-written in a letter/journal format. And I’ve read books that are similar to it but this one…something seems to be missing in it for me, though I couldn’t tell you what.

The Negative
I found aspects of this book unrealistic. Charlie seems way too naive to be a fifteen-year-old, twelve would be more realistic for how he sometimes acts and what he doesn’t know.  For instance, he doesn’t know what the word masturbation is, at fifteen.  I may be willing to believe that he lived in a very protective household and had no siblings, but Charlie’s family life seems, relaxed and he has two older siblings, both of which have had sex.  Charlie even caught his sister in the act at one point in the book. Also, he seems completely shocked when he has a wet dream.

Charlie cries if he’s given an unfriendly look. I know I’m sensitive, but even at fifteen I knew how to hold off tears until I was out of the public eye, swallowing them down until I could cry in privacy.  In the book he cries over everything. And, even if found this a realistic aspect, I found it incredibly annoying. I didn’t find it appealing.

Their are a few other things, but those were the biggest ones.

The Positive
Despite the parts I listed above, I did believe that Charlie was surviving high school. He experiences things that are real teenagers experiment with, from drugs to sex to love. Chbosky doesn’t back away from those actions or the ensuing consequences. One character winds up pregnant and getting an abortion, relationships are broken and mended, though not always. He experiences life.

The journal/letter format presents Charlie with a realistic release on the pressures he endures in his life. I don’t believe this would have worked as well, however if the book weren’t set in the 1990s. Modern technology would have made the story completely different.

This book is in no way meant for me and I’m glad I haven’t purchased the book.  Aren’t libraries great? However, I can see how other people may enjoy this book.  My advice, get the book only if you’re interested in realistic fiction, with a slight psychological bent.  That part probably needed enhanced more for my enjoyment.  The theme to the book is discovering yourself, and surviving. No specific plot. More of a year-in-the-life of a teenager.

Have you read this book? What did you think?