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
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Charlie is a quirky, unsure teen who is befriended by a brother/sister duo. In love with Sam, or the mere idea of her, the novel is told in a series of letters to an unknown addressee about his experiences with the friends and a forced-upon girlfriend. The novel is intelligent, and Charlie opens his soul through the letters in a way he can't in his daily life. Chbosky presents a tale of insecurity and angst in a raw, emotional, and touching way. The end shows a transformed Charlie and ultimately reveals the recipient of the letters. Excellent read for teens and adults.
You've either been Charlie, or you knew him. This does take you back to the awkward teen years. Not only is Charlie awkward, he is mentally and emotionally fragile. The story has redeeming qualities, although it's not what I'd run out and recommend to everyone.
The narrator makes every second worth a listen. The scenes come alive under Noah's stellar performance. You never even realize that he is reading...he's just talking to you.
I believe the book might have been "over-hyped", and whenever that happens, my expectations are high. Dealing with my own teenager's angst, emotional health, substance use and the like, I related to the character a little too much. Therefore, the emotional rollercoaster of high school are relived and some of us would just rather not revisit that. It's up to you. It is a short listen and like some movies, you can get lost in the performance even if the movie is just so-so.
Best performance ever!
I can't even imagine reading this book or hearing it read by any other performer. Noah "owns" this book!
I don't write many reviews because I really don't think I'm a very good book reviewer. So many people write so much better than I do, and all I can do is second what they have to say. But I loved this book and the performance of the reader so much that I felt like I needed to write something. I have listened to many audible books and have enjoyed many of them, but this one is special. That's the best description I can give it really. It has a special place in my heart.
This story struck a cord in me. No matter what your experience was in high school everyone can relate to this story. Everyone has their own pain and their own joy but these emotions are especially heightened in High School and memories that will literally stay with us for a lifetime. This audio book conveyed those emotions perfectly & was very difficult to turn off. You simply fall in love with Charlie, the lead character. Difficult to listen to the end but well worth it. Bravo for Chbosky for putting it all out there. Amazing story with the perfect narrator in Noah Galvin. You won't regret buying this book. Just don't think it's another 'Breakfast Club' though. It runs much much deeper.
I was unsure about this book initially. I wasn't convinced that I would connect with this book or the main character, but the longer I listened, the more I craved it. It reminded me how complicated high school life was for me and that it probably wasn't just me...being a teenager is tough stuff. The narrator was fantastic and in my mind...he was Charlie. Trying to explain this or put this book into words is almost impossible for me, other than to say, it was the best coming of age story that I have read or listened to. I didn't want it to end.
This was a sad and confusing tale of a young boy experiencing his first year in high school after the death of his friend. High school is already an intimidating place, but to face it alone is another story. I enjoyed the chances Charlie took, his experimental side, his loyalty, and his honesty (in his retelling of the stories). I loved how Patrick and Sam took him under their wing, albeit they may not have been the best of influences, they were good to him.
Charlie was an extremely sensitive guy and somewhat intuit. However, I felt that he cried an awful lot, but the fact that his friends didn't seem to mind made me a little envious of their unbridled acceptance of him.
My personal high school experience was completely different, and on another level, much more innocent. I couldn't imagine being faced with some of the situations Charlie, Sam, and Patrick had. In the end when they explained some of Charlie's "craziness" , I was blown away and everything seemed to make sense all of a sudden. This was definitely a haunting tale of growing up, but I think it hit the mark on the head.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This book was honest, fun and chilling all at once. I have seldom liked 'coming of age' titles for the mare fact that it is either too PG or just plain too twisted. This on the other hand was just plain right... It did not attempt to share some shocking deep life lesson nor did it attempt to hide behind a whole lot of useless fluff and annoying teen angst... It just felt real.
Stephen Chbosky's writing style allowed the reader/listener to really see Charlie's life just how he wishes it to be portrayed. It was a unique sort of writing style if you ask me and I can see how it can be a miss if done incorrectly, but when done right in the case of this book, it is utter genius! You find yourself reminiscing about your High School career, seeing the faces of your friends in your high school classes being represented here and unlike most other books that seem to force down the typical jock/cheerleader/nerd, this was done in such an effortless and real manner you can't help but falling into that mood of sheer nostalgia. The book was honest and actually was able to broach a rather disturbing topic but again because it was so time, done so effortless and so right I truly could not see the book done in any other way.
Perfection was found by choosing Noah Galvin to be the narrator. I could find very little titles that I could say was better narrated than this one.
I appreciated this book vastly for all the things that it did here and all the fundamental truths that it represented. It will strike a chord with almost anyone I believe; from the pitch perfect narration to the excellent storyline... all of this was just done really well.
While I enjoyed this book immensely, there were MANY very uncomfortable moments throughout the book. It was reminiscent of some of my most awkward moments which took place during my teenage years!
The sheer pressure of wanting so badly to be liked by people that you have come to idolize for no particular reason seems ridiculous now, but Charlie's letters bring back all of the memories of the unrequited crushes and quests for popularity.
Charlie is dealing with especially tough teen years due in part to wanting to please everyone at his own expense as well as having not yet found his voice and not knowing how to express what he wants or needs for fear of upsetting someone he cares about.
He is so grateful that Patrick and Sam actually spend time with him and appear to like him that he will do almost anything to remain in their good graces. Unfortunately, his gratitude for their friendship and self doubt are a normal part of being a teenager, especially since he has an enormous crush on Sam.
There are times in this story where I REALLY wanted him to "grow a pair" - but through the excellent narration and compelling story line, I realized that Charlie was doing everything he could and despite constantly trying to please others, he was striving to become the best person he knew how to be.
This is a great read for anyone who wants to take a trip down memory lane back to those critical years where you were still making embarrassing mistakes in the quest to become well liked and popular.
QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!
Let me start by saying: This book is an emotional roller coaster. Through letters written to an unknown friend (literally), soon to be High School Freshman, Charlie is able to express, vent, and share his feelings and thoughts.
Why do I think this book has the best narration of any other books that I have listened to before? It's simple, narrator, Noah Galvin, becomes Charlie. He managed to interpret Charlie's feelings with just the right change to his voice, with just the right amount of pause between words. What a talent he has.
The material presented in this novel is sometimes hard to take. And I wouldn't recommend it to every reader. Even though the character's are under 18, they experience some very Adult Situations. Even though I'm an adult, I found myself having a difficult time dealing with emotions presented to me in this book.
As a reader, I took a lot from this book. The music mentioned is phenomenal, the books Charlie's English teacher gives him to read, had me actually buying one or two of them, just to see what I was missing, and there is a poem that is so potent, it will be impossible to forget.
I don't think this could have happened if Noah Galvin wasn't the narrator. I really don't. Hopefully, he will narrate more books in the future.
I watched author Stephen Chbosky's film adaptation of his novel first. I felt that, besides the voiceover element which many films use, the movie felt like it played out so naturally and un-book-like. I was anxious to spend more time with these characters and also to see how the movie's revelations were handled.
I quickly got over the fact that the entire novel is told in letters (I was going to use the word epistolary, but thought it sounded too pretentious... And now that I'm pitifully defending my writing style I sound just like this novel's narrator, Charlie), and was wrapped up in the fascinating point of view of this high school freshman.
It has to be said that, while the book is really a wonderful story, Noah Galvin turns it into something far more engaging and appealing with superb performance. He really embodies the character of Charlie and gives humor and depth to his neurotic and adolescent fears. He does something that I particularly love: As Charlie, he manages to perform the other character's dialogue with a sort of sarcasm that seems very true to his personality while at the same time the voices really resonate as being accurate to the people he is imitating.
Overall, this is a really terrific coming of age story. The nice thing is that the author was able to take this tale of his and turn it into an equally charming movie. Enjoy both!
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