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Customer Review

963 of 1,019 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Startling, Gripping, and Absolutely Honest, June 30, 2000
This review is from: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (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. It is about looking around us at the world and the people and appreciating that we don't know what their lives are like, and the pain and happiness that they experience day to day, so we shouldn't judge them but accept them and appreciate them. A favorite section of this book, for me, was when Charlie describes the movie It's A Wonderful Life, and how he wished the movie had been about one of the less heroic characters so the audience could have seen the meaning that this person's life held. That moment is just one example of Charlie's amazing intuition. This book should not be limited to a certain "category" of people. I truly believe that it would be understood, appreciated, and loved by everyone aged 12 (+ or - a few) and up regardless of gender, race, sexuality, etc. This book changes you, if only for a moment, but you are not the same upon completion, and you become more appreciative of life then ever.
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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 16, 2008 4:53:38 PM PDT
I bought this book at 1pm at the mall. I went to work, and nearly finishe it by 6pm. I finihsed it while driving home on severa major highways. The book truly makes you appreciate life and i completely agree with you. Great book. It is now my favorite book, why? Because its the last one I read. :)

Posted on May 25, 2010 7:14:50 AM PDT
Great review. I am going to read the book now. CB

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2011 2:19:08 PM PST
Peter Simon says:
I loved this book because of the honesty. It was cool to read the part about going through the tunnel in Pittsburgh because that's my hometown. He hit the nail on the head with that one.I agree it makes you appreciate life.

Does anybody have any recommendations for a book that is in the same vein as Perks of Being a Wallflower?

Posted on Feb 17, 2011 5:32:36 PM PST
T. Wilson says:
You think this book should be loved by people 12 ages up or below? What kinda person are you?!!!
This has so many mature and raw things in it and sure as hell should not be read by them! Maybe in college but thats it!!!

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 7:38:18 AM PST
Newell says:
That is a great review. Makes me want to read it now, so it's going on my wishlist! Maybe you should be a writer yourself.

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 8:30:50 AM PDT
J. Hayne says:
Loved this book. Agreed, it changed me in a good way. Not as profound as Catcher in the Rye, but unique and beautiful and worth reading for sure.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2012 3:59:57 PM PDT
Anna says:
While I agree with L. Cali's concerns... his/her way of stating them was less than helpful. Allow me to rephrase... this book is, in my opinion as both an English teacher and a person with lots of experience with children up through middle and high school, absolutely not appropriate for anyone below the age of 15 or so. Perhaps this person (who wrote the original review) was just so caught up in the awesome, powerful, poignant story that she forgot the very mature sexual themes that are prevalent in this book. There are some very heavy parts describing sexual activity, sexual abuse and other mature themes. However, if you're 15 or older... READ this book. It's ... in a word: Incredible.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 9:30:35 PM PDT
Anna, I have to disagree. I think this book would be perfectly fine for a mature 13 or 14 year old to read. I certainly read many books a that age that dealt closely with these very same topics. I'm an English teacher, too, and I'm also a children's literature scholar; trust me, books like this are banned for kids all the time because adults like us don't think the kids can handle them. But they can.

There is absolutely nothing in this book that would mentally or emotionally scar a young teen. It's very powerful prose, and the reader is invited to connect with Charlie on a very intimate level. For all it does contain instances of sex and drug use, it's nothing on par with, for example, a Robert Cormier novel.

I think it is important to note that Perks ends on a very positive note. Charlie's year of his life that he shares with us contains a lot of bad stuff, but he comes out on top, for the most part. And that's a really great thing for a kid to experience in a book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 3:56:52 PM PDT
BonFire says:
Agreed. By 13 I was reading everything from smutty romance books to "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. My parents didn't censor what I read, and I always appreciated that. Kids can handle it, and they're already understanding and dealing with more than many adults realize.

Posted on May 17, 2012 4:01:20 PM PDT
BonFire says:
Great review. This is one of my all time favorite books. Personally, what always hits me the hardest is the poem.
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