Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives or to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music—when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive.
Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
©1999 Stephen Chbosky (P)2012 Recorded Books
A 15 year old boy, Charlie, narrates this book through letters addressed to an unknown person. This book covers a vast range of topics; sex, drugs, suicide, molestation, abuse, homosexuality, mental health issues, abortion, rape. I was surprised that this is considered a book for young adults.
All of my friends read this book when they were young and all had great memories of the book and really enjoyed it; although I’m not a young teen anymore, I thought I’d give it a shot. I think that if I had read this book when I was in school I would have enjoyed it more; I don’t think I would have understood a lot of the stuff that was discussed and I would have seen it through rose colored glasses, as I think my friends do. I think if they read it now, they would see the horribly depressing book as I did.
Essentially, I wasn’t overwhelmed with the book, but I wasn’t extensively disappointed, it just made me feel very sad.
An extraordinary narration for an extraordinary story.
The obvious answer would have to be Sam, simply because I relate to her. However to answer honestly, I would say Charlie. His character was enthralling and endearing. Very well-developed. He is special and unique, and absolutely *Infinite*.
Charlie, of course. Sheer perfection.
We Are Infinite.
Every once in a while, a story will be told that will be life-changing and incredibly profound. This is one of those stories.Perks of Being a Wallflower is such a deeply affecting novel. It will haunt with you for weeks after reading it, and you will be compelled to reread it over and over again. The characters are well thought out, the story is intensely intimate, engrossing, and wondrous.
Entertaining, coming of age, nostalgia
the end, i wasn't expecting it to end in that way
He played the characters very well, made you feel like you were really listening to someone you knew.
When they were all in the car listening to the song that moved them into silence and happiness...i've had days like that
This series of letters by a teenage boy truly did capture the narrator in all his thoughtful idiosyncrasies. I thought I would love this coming-of-age story, but I got halfway through and realized that there was not much of a story here. It was a series of interesting vignettes, but that was not enough to sustain my interest and continue into the second half of this novel. One problem is that outside of the angst-plagued teenage boy narrator, none of the other characters came alive to me. The writing is great, with so much of teen life right on. But the many details that made me smile were not enough to keep my interest.
Coming of age story set in U.S. high school of the early 1990s about a sensitive boy who cries all the time and finds himself friends with hard partiers. Thoroughly loved it while I was reading it. In hindsight, maybe it wasn't as strong. I could see some people complaining about cliche parts but, damn, high school is a cliche. Awesome narration. (I'm a white male in my late 40s.)
The format of this book is pretty original. The main character, Charlie, is writing very personal letters to someone he doesn't know. It starts out during the summer break between grade school and high school, and is set in the early 1990's. He tells the person he's writing to that he's writing to them because he knows they are the kind of person who wouldn't sleep with someone at a party just because they could, and because he knows somehow that they will understand him and not judge. He tells the unknown person the details of his life, starting with a story about his closest friend committing suicide. He talks about starting high school and how he is ok with not having any friends, even though he would like to have some. He also talks about his English teacher taking a special interest in him and giving him extra assignments that the other kids don't have. This leads him into talking about his analysis of the books he reads. I love that part of this book. Then he randomly meets 2 people that change his life. This could be just like some cheesy 80's high school movie, but it's not. Sure there is the normal 'boy pines for girl that is waaay out of his league', but there's more, and you might not even realize it until the end. First, there's a bit of mystery about why Charlie is the way he is, but because we can only see things from his point of view it's hard to get a handle on exactly what it is. Then there is the depth of the character. He is complicated, yet easy to understand. We can all relate to the crazy stuff we all did in high school, and how it felt to be in the in-between phase of life. We can also understand the desire to be liked and have friends, while still trying to figure out who we are. But what makes this all together different from any teen book or movie is the end. It is not all wrapped up for you. That is to say, the boy doesn't get the girl and they don't live happily ever after. Or do they? You'll just have to figure that out for yourself.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
There's a couple of sure ways to get me interested in a book by an author I haven't read before. One way: have a bunch of highly paid talking heads argue vehemently about what the book actually says, all using the same quotes to back their arguments. That's how I ended up reading/listening to former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' memoir, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" (2014) earlier this year.
Another way to grab my attention is to have community members and conservative parents try really hard to ban the book at schools and libraries. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has been, off-and-on, one of the top 10 banned books since it was published. According to the American Library Association (a non-profit dedicated to NOT letting books be banned), its been taken off the shelf for: offensive language, abortion, drugs/alcohol/smoking, violence, suicide, homosexuality, and it's sexually explicit.
Now that I've listened to "Wallflower" I can confirm it has all of that - and more. There's also a rape and more than one child molestation. That's a lot for a short book - it's 256 pages in print and a 6 hour 20 minute listen.
The plot and the subject matter isn't easy to hear, but I think it's important for teens to know life can be very, very difficult - and people go through hard times. That's a little patronizing, but that's a reviewer problem, not the book itself. I'm almost 50, I have high schoolers, and I just can't think of a better way to put it.
I was a little disappointed with the vocabulary. Sure, Stephen Chbosky used all the right words - there wasn't a silly euphemism to be found. However, the vocabulary level wasn't quite 5th grade. Since the main character spent most of the book reading literature, the juxtaposition was jarring.
This is 9.0 AR points (source: arbookfind dot com).
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There were a lot of remarks and observations by the main character that made me think that he was learning-impaired, or possibly had some kind of intellectual disability. But it turned out that he was supposed to be gifted AND well-read! If he wasn't a reader, I could have overlooked some of this and chalked it up to naivete, but it's just too preposterous that a reasonably intelligent, erudite teenager could be so in the dark.
The narration was kind of irritating, but I actually didn't mind too much because I thought it seemed true to the character. Of course, that's when I was assuming that the character was very backward and needed a little more patience from the reader.
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my daughter's favorite book. She has struggled in life for the last year, so today I decided to read the book hoping for some insight into the teen angst that rules her life currently. I found the book to be a hauntingly lovely and painful exploration of youth.
Charlie is filled with insecurity and the uneasiness of not knowing himself. He struggles with depression and hides from himself and others. Mr Chbosky tells the tale of Charlie through Charlie's letters to an unidentified person. Many reviewers have written about who might be the recipient of those letters. I am not sure that the answer is important and do not think that my opinion is any more important or correct than any of those other opinions. I will just say that the clue I took came from the following quote: "... I saw a girl in class, who didn't notice me, and she talked all about you to a friend of hers. And even though I didn't know you, I felt like I did because you sounded like such a good person. The kind of person who wouldn't mind receiving letters from a kid. The kind of person who would understand how they were better than a diary because there is communion and a diary can be found. I just don't want you to worry about me, or think that you've met me, or waste your time anymore. I am so sorry that I wasted your time because you really do mean a lot to me and I hope you have a very nice life because I really think you deserve it. I really do. I hope you do, too. Okay, then. Goodbye." For me the answer is that Charlie is writing to himself -- the person he understands least. Perhaps that opinion comes from the fact that I know I didn't grasp myself as a teenager, and I don't believe my daughter has a true awareness of herself.
The book is beautifully sad, slightly tragic and full of real insight into the agony of the wallflowers of high school.
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