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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Paperback – August 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; Media Tie-In edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451696191
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451696196
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2.7 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What is most notable about this funny, touching, memorable first novel from Stephen Chbosky is the resounding accuracy with which the author captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender, a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles that many kids face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings:

I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why.
With the help of a teacher who recognizes his wisdom and intuition, and his two friends, seniors Samantha and Patrick, Charlie mostly manages to avoid the depression he feels creeping up like kudzu. When it all becomes too much, after a shocking realization about his beloved late Aunt Helen, Charlie retreats from reality for awhile. But he makes it back in due time, ready to face his sophomore year and all that it may bring. Charlie, sincerely searching for that feeling of "being infinite," is a kindred spirit to the generation that's been slapped with the label X. --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A trite coming-of-age novel that could easily appeal to a YA readership, filmmaker Chbosky's debut broadcasts its intentions with the publisher's announcement that ads will run on MTV. Charlie, the wallflower of the title, goes through a veritable bath of bathos in his 10th grade year, 1991. The novel is formatted as a series of letters to an unnamed "friend," the first of which reveals the suicide of Charlie's pal Michael. Charlie's response--valid enough--is to cry. The crying soon gets out of hand, though--in subsequent letters, his father, his aunt, his sister and his sister's boyfriend all become lachrymose. Charlie has the usual dire adolescent problems--sex, drugs, the thuggish football team--and they perplex him in the usual teen TV ways. [...] Into these standard teenage issues Chbosky infuses a droning insistence on Charlie's supersensitive disposition. Charlie's English teacher and others have a disconcerting tendency to rhapsodize over Charlie's giftedness, which seems to consist of Charlie's unquestioning assimilation of the teacher's taste in books. In the end we learn the root of Charlie's psychological problems, and we confront, with him, the coming rigors of 11th grade, ever hopeful that he'll find a suitable girlfriend and increase his vocabulary.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4,287
4 star
1,122
3 star
383
2 star
155
1 star
163
See all 6,110 customer reviews
By the end of the book you really feel like you got to know all of the characters and their personalities.
K. Harris
I found the characters very easy to create a connection with, I thought the book was very well written, and overall, it was a beautiful story.
Ryan Michael Cope
This book was written in a way that captures the reader's interest and helps you relate to the main character, Charlie.
Nicnack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

891 of 945 people found the following review helpful By Emily on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, in April of my sophomore year at college. A friend lent it to me and I had read it within twelve hours. This book reaches inside of you and pulls everything to the surface. It is a beautiful and painful story about a 15 year old boy, Charlie, moving through his freshmen year of highschool. It is written in letter form to an unknown friend. Charlie is always completely honest, whether he is describing his first "beer" party where he witnessed a girl being raped by her boyfriend, or explaining masturbation and his excitement for this newfound "activity." Charlie is a wallflower who observes people and feels very deeply for the experiences occuring around him. His favorite Aunt Helen died in a car accident when he was six, and he holds himself accountable, and his best friend committed suicide a year before he began the letters. His English teacher realizes Charlie's potential and brilliance and asks him to try and participate, which Charlie agrees to do. He becomes friends with two seniors Patrick and Samantha and begins to experience dances, parties, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, pot, love, bad trips and sexuality. We feel exhilerated when Charlie describes his happy moments, and we are swallowed in pain when Charlie is overwhelmed by his depression. Charlie's realizations are eye opening for us, and we are so captivated and immersed in his life that his life and stories become a very real experience. This book is about moments, and being as much alive within each moment as possible.Read more ›
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167 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Michael Rogers on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chybosky, I sat there in a stunned silence. The book was strongly powerful in a manner that diary or letter style books rarely achieve. There is usually a sense of implausibility in those types of books that Charlie's character completely negated. When trying to describe Charlie the mind suddenly reels, he's honest. Completely and utterly genuine in his perceptions and most of his actions. Charlie is also and emotional basket case that somehow manages to attract a special group of friends to him. A group of voluntary outcasts that go through the same problems teenagers face everywhere. Sex, drugs, relationships and acceptance figure heavily into everyone's lives, despite their personal beliefs on those subjects. I would like to mention Stephen's portrayal of Patrick, I was pleased to see the sbuject of homosexuality treated in such a plain manner. It was accepted as a fact and only the feelings invovled in the situations were important. I would recomment this book to a wide range of people, old or young, straight or gay, conservative or liberal. It was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed it immensely.
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108 of 127 people found the following review helpful By 30acrewood on July 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my 13 year old daughter but wanted to read it first to see if it is appropriate It is a wonderfully written book in which Charlie, a deeply sensitive boy, finds true friends and learns to live, to love, to lose, and move on. The author gives this boy a voice and it's magnificent. I so appreciate Charlie's depth of emotions. I have a sensitive, emotional son and will want him to read this book in a couple years. Suicide, homosexuality, infatuation, deep deep friendships, finding yourself and re-finding yourself are all themes in this book. The author captures "moments" of adolescence -- those incredible high moments that might last just minutes -- and makes them so real. If only more kids could put a voice to these feelings. One reviewer doesn't think this book captures adolescence in the 90's -- I don't know because I'm a Mom . . . but I don't care. Charlie deals with drugs, smoking, drinking, messing up friendships, feeling alone, and uncovers family problems he has to deal with. And he deals with it as a young man who can stand back, look at it all, and make decisions about what he has experienced. I want my daughter to read it, maybe now or maybe in a couple years, for the hope it left me with. Charlie survived being hopelessly in love with one of his best friends. It hurt and he felt it and it didn't defeat him. With everything thrown at kids in jr. high and high school this book might just help them survive it a little more intact. I think I'm going to go talk to my kids right now . . . .
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Suzie Bonem on January 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Okay, this book was not the be-all, end-all of YA literature that some previous reviewers seem to think it was. It wasn't complete trash - the author obviously made an attempt to tap into that crazy world we call adolescence.

However, it fell short of the mark for me, and I'll be fifteen in a week, so I think I would have some clue about what's really going on in our minds.

For one thing, Charlie's view of life was incredibly simplistic and did not leave a lot of room for self-revelation or growth of any kind. Basically, he was the nice, somewhat reserved guy who had the misfortune of watching other people foul up, until he joined them. Then, they still kept being human, you know, doing "teen" stuff, breaking up, getting high, except that he joined them and uncovered something painful and repressed about himself along the way. I won't say anything more plot-wise, but in terms of how "universal" this book is, I really don't see it. The characters seemed to serve no purpose except help (or sometimes not help) Charlie feel better about himself and the situations he was put through, which were, save for maybe two instances, ridiculously contrived.

If you're expecting Catcher in the Rye, forget it. This book does not even come close to touching Salinger's masterpiece, because of the predictable banality of its lead character, who seems to be a "prodigy" and yet doesn't come close to the writing talents of many sixteen year olds I know. Hell, I'm a year younger than the guy, and he makes ME look like Kafka.

There is nothing "universal" about transcribing events of adolescence that we may or may not have experienced. What makes Salinger (vs Chbosky) so great is he does so in a way that's actually realistic, i.e.
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