Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a teacher, it’s my job (and my privilege) to assign great literature to my students. They don’t always appreciate what I assign. But sometimes something clicks with them. When that happens, they often return the favor by suggesting one of their favorites to me. When the student is the one who keeps my desktop visible and leaves me notes about things I need to remember to do, her suggestions go to the top of the list. (She’s kind of a nag, too.) So, this review is my thank-you to Jess for recommending a great book I likely never would have picked up on my own.

Charlie has a very compelling narrative voice. The dude really sucks you in and holds on tight. Even when he’s making obviously stupid decisions, as a reader you’re there with him, hoping his innocent charm will pull him through it. All the while, there are hints of a dark secret Charlie feels but can’t quite grasp until … Well, not until toward the end of the book.

If I have one complaint about this book it’s that soooooo much happens to Charlie and his friends during this one year of his life. Now, it’s possible, and I know there has to be dramatic license, and in the end Chbosky is trying to provide a valuable and important lesson, but it’s just … so … much. A lot of it is bad, though Charlie chooses to focus on the good, and there is a lot of that. This is a very small complaint. Nitpicking, really.

For most of the ride, I loved this book. Charlie said things I remember feeling, things I still feel, and things I know my students are feeling. I loved it when he was talking about how songs or books had affected other people and how he knew they would continue to affect people later.

This book is important to Jess. She recommended it to me, and I loved it. We shared an experience. So I think the best quote of the book can be applied here: “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” Maybe someday you’ll see this review, Jess. Thanks for a great read!

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