The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


The back of the book says

‘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. 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 Thoughts

There really are perks to being a wallflower or at least Chbosky’s makes it seem that way. It has always been a personal belief of mine that there are too many people in this world that speak before they think about what they are going to say. This is the point where I hold my head up high and say YES I have done it more than once – there is a shameful aspect to this however if you recognise the fault and correct it where is the harm?!

Charlie at the start seems to observe from the sidelines. Quite happily writing to his ‘Dear Friend’ about his daily happenings and as the story progresses with Charlie’s increasing adolescence the letters become increasingly magnetic. The writing style seems to grow along with Charlie himself. Many famous authors and their titles as well as song titles were mentioned. At one point a list of songs is written as Charlie has made a mixed tape for one of his close ‘real’ friends Patrick. There were two sides to the tape and on one it was filled with the songs that Charlie liked to listen to and thought Patrick would also enjoy, these songs were:

Asleep – The Smiths (One of Charlie’s favourites)
Vapour Trail – Ride
Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
Time of No Reply – Nick Drake
Dear Prudence – The Beatles
Gypsy – Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues
Daydream – Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk – Genesis (Before Phil Collins joined the band – Charlie made this point which made me chuckle!)
MLK – U2
Blackbird – The Beatles
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Asleep – The Smiths (Again!)

Charlie states that he feels infinite when he is with his friends and also when he is listening to certain music – I can identify with this as there is some music that can just help you relax and float into a different world (without the assistance of narcotics!). Great word to use for that feeling – the dictionary (from defines the words as follows:





immeasurably great: an infinite capacity for forgiveness.

indefinitely or exceedingly great: infinite sums of money.

unlimited or unmeasurable in extent of space, duration of time, etc.: the infinite nature of outer space.

unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless:

From the mix tape before hitting You Tube I had only listened to three of the songs on the list. However after listening to them one after the other and some more times than others I don’t know how I have never come across such cool songs. Listening to such songs has given me an understanding as to why Charlie felt each song was so impactive singularly and as a playlist.

With regards to the mention of such titles such as Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Kerouac’s On the Road I was quite surprised at the amount of books he got through. Charlie seems to be quite the bookworm and each book seems to have a profound affect on his thoughts and feelings towards certain situations. I am yet to read Kerouac’s On the Road however there are great similarities with Catcher in the Rye as Salinger portrays Holden Caulfield in a similar light to that of Charlie by Chbosky. Both adolescent’s who are growing in a fast changing world around them and unsure what all the endless possibilities could mean them and their lives ahead. The questions being should they bow down and conform to what is known to society as normality or should they break free and create their own paths?

Overall a well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and actually did not want to put down. Definitely worth reading.

From: Sarah through Broke & Bookish Secret Santa

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 231

Buy From: AmazonThe Book DepositoryWaterstonesBarnes & Noble


rating4* worthy fix

Fay 2013