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
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.)
Definitely! Absolutely loved this coming of age story. The writing was brilliant and the narrator was incredible. I found myself feeling as if I was actually in the story with Charlie, Sam and Patrick. I was actually sad for the story to end!
It was so relatable for so many teens these days! So many social issues were discussed from the perspective of a somewhat lost teen (suicide, drugs, sex, school....all of these were covered). And it gives hope for those that are lost or unpopular and feel like they are living for nothing.
Charlie, without a doubt!
There were so many moments that moved me. I found myelf laughing out loud one minute and wiping tears from my eyes the next. The writing was absolutley amazing!!!
As an adult and mother of two boys, I wasn't quite sure what I would think of this book or if I would even like it. All I can say is.....Wow! I am so glad I bought this and plan to have my boys read it when they are old enough. It was so inspirational on so many levels. I fell in love with the characters and was so shocked by the twist at the end. Charlie is every kid who is a little "different" and who others see as a "freak" or a "weirdo". And yet...he's not. He is just dealing with issues that nobody, including Charlie, understands. And he makes it through!! This story was amazing to me!
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
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.
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.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
No, because I saw the movie before listening to the book (twice, actually), and I liked the movie better. I still liked the book well enough to give it four stars, but I have two theories:
1. I saw the movie a second time because my 13 year old read the book over the summer and wanted to see it, so I went with her even though I'd already seen it. She liked the book better, I liked the movie better -- I think we were both partial to the version we experienced first. She didn't like the changes made in the movie, I thought the changes added depth and drama, especially in the ending. But we both liked both versions regardless of which one we liked better.
2. Rarely does the author of a book get to direct his own screen version. But Stephen Chbosky did, over a decade after publishing the book, and with the experience of writing and producing a TV show (Jericho) in the interim. Although largely faithful to the book, the ending is amplified from an epilogue to a climactic denouement. That carries a lot of weight in my mind, that he had a better idea of how to tell his story.
To put it into an emblematic nutshell, the song in the tunnel scene in the book is Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, in the movie it's Heroes by David Bowie. On my stereo, I like Landslide better. But for that scene? Heroes is so effective. So is the added detail that, in the movie, they didn't know the song when they experienced it in the tunnel, which is not the case in the book with Landslide. Gotta believe Chbosky knew what he was doing here, having grown over the years, and I believe that extends to the other changes he made.
But the book remains a very good read and/or listen, whether you saw the movie or not.
In the book and movie both, the Secret Santa scene is one the most memorable and satisfying moments. In the book, there is actually more depth to the set of gifts Charlie gives Patrick, an instance where it surpasses the movie. And Charlie's makeover, culminating with the typewriter Sam gives him as well as his first kiss, is a major leap his his coming of age.
Patrick is an irresistibly charismatic force in the movie, the person who takes Charlie under his wing for no apparent reason other than the openness of his character, the one who really teaches Charlie to be himself. But he doesn't quite shine that way in the book. As performed by Noah Galvin in Charlie's first person voice, with that much more interior monologue and introspection than is possible on screen, Charlie is clearly the best character, in addition to being the central and most important one.
Yes. Like seeing the movie in one sitting. And it's short enough. I didn't actually get to listen to it straight through, but close enough, listening to it in several bursts over the course of a 36-hour period.
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.
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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