A Review on The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


This novel is tiny and completely powerful.  The novel is set as a series of letters written by Charlie… letters written to us because we will understand… because we will listen.  We are told up front that this is not his real name.  He doesn’t tell us the real names of the people around him either.  However, this fact simply does not matter.  The connection established between the reader and Charlie is instant and deep.  I felt for this outsider, this “wallflower” mere pages in to the novel.

The Good:  The book is simple without being simplistic.  That is to say that the language is approachable; anyone could read this book.  It is not frightening like Shakespeare, intimidating like James Joyce.  It is instead rather easy language, but with deep meaning.  It reads beautifully, and there are moments of profound wisdom that come from this awkward fourteen year old and/or the people around him.  It still has a point, and you still have to work at reading it well, but it is incredibly enjoyable to do so.

There are two particular moments that really stood out to me – the poem that Charlie gives to his friend for a Christmas gift and the scene where Charlie sees the children sledding.  They are two absolutely outstanding moments in the novel that are just beautifully done.

There are also a few allusions made to other novels as Charlie is assigned to read them; all of them are coming-of-age stories that cue the reader in to the fact that this too is a coming-of-age story, although a little different.

As my friend put it, there are no bad guys.  The story reads true.  We relate to it.  No single character is demonized, although they all certainly make their fair share of mistakes – which is how people actually are.  The characters felt real, especially Charlie.

The Bad:  I have not one single bad thing to say about this novel.

The Verdict:  You need to read this.  No conditions.

Written by Rachel B.

Rachel is a co-creator and writer at Definitely Not for the Birds (DNFB). She recently graduated with a degree in English. Presently, she writes, reads, and then reads and writes some more, with a giant and ever-present mug of green tea in her hand. Follow Rachel @rrbindl and DNFB @not4birds