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Showing 1-10 of 6,704 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9,080 reviews
on March 2, 2013
I am 74 years old. The world is different now; there are more risks and more choices than when I was 15, but this movie reminded me of what it felt like to be 15 and 16 in 1954 and 1955. In those days homework was accompanied by radio with Rock and Roll music thanks to Alan Fried, Ranger hockey against Maurice Richard, and Gene Shepard,the best story teller of all time. Most of us had after school jobs which gave us enough spending money to begin making choices independent of our parents, and every day we left home and entered the world alone, with very little confidence but with the hope that everything was going to work out. Watching Charlie going through his day, observing the antics of his friends and trying to make sense of it all, brought tears to my eyes. The beauty of the movie is that it captures the universal experience of adolescence, and fortunately, as difficult as the experience may be, just like Charlie, most of us make it through.
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on September 12, 2014
Loved it. Like "the fault in our stars" I tore through this one in 2 days. This is a book that will take you through the american high school growing up experience. It doesn't attempt to avoid any part of it, which is why it is often found on banned book lists at schools. I think it is easy to see why (though the author is apparently surprised). There is drug use, there is sexual stuff, some violence. Having said that, I don't think it is a book that emphasizes any of it, but simply acknowledges: these things are a part of the culture.

I really appreciate that this book does not overhype any part of life. It is not trying to sell you anything and that is so refreshing.

The story is set up as a character named charlie writing letters to a more mature person he has never met, a person who "listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with people just because you could have." Someone describes charlie as being a "wallflower" --a person who observes things and doesn't participate. He tries and begins to participate a bit more often. He finds a group of friends that is something like the 90's equivalent of the modern "hipster" crowd, who likes to listen to music, read books, is not inclined towards pop culture, experiments with some drugs and alcohol.

This book is full of observations on the american culture from a wallflower perspective- someone who is in it, but observing it as much as participating in it. In retrospect it is beautiful for taking a calm look at it, not worried, but seeing what is there.

This book would be most valuable to the adolescents who are going through, and about to go through the experiences described. They will know that there are many parts that are socially constructed and they should know it is all a phase and to feel confident in who they are, there is more to life than what you experience as an adolescent. Experience that time, don't miss it, but be yourself, even if there is no immediate popularity, you will be fine.

Some parents would feel nervous about some of the topics in the book. But to be honest, that is life. I'm reminded of a certain man from Galilee who was eventually killed saying "don't worry about your life" and a certain hobbit from the shire saying "it's dangerous business to walk out your front door" ... it is. There are great experiences and ones that hurt and are sad. That's life. This book is a snapshot of life. If I continue to work with this age group, I will often recommend it.
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on June 15, 2014
Back when this movie came out, I heard good things about it, but we had a baby and no free time, so never got around to seeing it. Then I heard it was based on a book, and I thought, well, at least I have time to read... but as I was reading blurbs and reviews of the book in preparation to buy, I kept seeing it compared to The Catcher in the Rye.

I hate The Catcher in the Rye. More than any other book I can think of, I loathe that book, I loathe Holden Caulfield, and it is at the very top of my list of Books-I-HATE-that-Everyone-Else-Loves (followed closely by The Great Gatsby). And of course the fact that everyone else loves Catcher in the Rye makes me loathe it even more. So, based on all those CitR comparisons, I took a pass on The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Yet I kept hearing good things about Perks, and eventually I broke down. The good news is, the comparisons to CitR are undeserved (though I get why people make them): Holden Caulfield is a spoiled, entitled, jaded, self-indulgent, self-centered, whiny little douchenozzle; Charlie is (blessedly) not. Charlie is observant, sensitive, generally considerate, and focused on others much more so than on himself (to his peril, as we learn). However, he's far from a perfect narrator: despite his prodigious intelligence, Charlie is painfully (sometimes unbelievably) naive and clueless in social situations. He's also mentally ill. His diagnoses are never made explicit, and I'm not a doctor, but I'd say he's suffering from depression and PTSD from several childhood traumas, including the suicide of one of his only friends, the death of a beloved aunt, and another, deeper trauma (so deep Charlie himself has shut out the memory) that is not revealed until the last pages of the book.

Despite Charlie's imperfections as a narrator, I connected deeply with his story. This book is set in 1991-1992, Charlie's first year of high school. That puts him one year behind me (and since he stayed back a year, we are the same age). Like Charlie, I too found my niche in high school among the semi-geeky, semi-awesome (depending on one's perspective) artsy crowd. Like Charlie, I too spent countless hours with my friends listening to Nirvana and the Smiths and watching Harold and Maude and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Like Charlie, my friends and I wrestled with issues like unrequited first love, teen dating violence, substance use, sexual orientation and identity, suicide, abortion, and childhood sexual abuse.

I've read several other reviews that criticize Perks for raising all of these issues in only a glancing way, without thoroughly dealing with any of them. I see what these reviewers are saying, but I think that critique is grossly unfair. Charlie's perspective is very similar to my recollection of my own high school experience. All of these huge, weighty, adult issues kept popping up unexpectedly, and you just had to figure out how to think about them, talk about them, what to do about them in the moment so that you could get back to the day-to-day business of finishing your homework, preparing for exams, going to this weekend's party -- but no, you never actually solved these problems. You didn't figure them out. You dealt with them as they came up, and then you spent years reflecting on those experiences, learning from them in the hope that you will deal better the next time you find yourself in the same boat.

Why only 3.5 stars, then, if I found Charlie so authentic? The ending. *So* disappointing. I don't want to spoil it for anyone (and the book is totally worth reading, even with the bummer ending), but I will say that Charlie has a very late-in-coming revelation of a major childhood trauma that sends him around the bend. He gets hospitalized for two months, and upon his release, suddenly he has a new shiny happy outlook on life that, frankly, he didn't earn, and I don't buy. I don't mind the relatively superficial treatment of all of the other weighty issues of the book, but Charlie is this book, he is the narrator, and if we can't trust him, we can't trust anything about the story. I'd have been happier with an ending that left him damaged but honest.
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on June 8, 2016
Wow. This book had so many different levels and was really well-written. It follows a very smart freshman in high school who is a wallflower (surprise!). He's an introvert, prefers to watch than participate, reads a lot, doesn't have many friends. Two seniors take him under their wing, and this book follows his first encounters with drugs, alcohol, sex, and other social aspects of high school. In that journey, he uncovers more about himself than he or I really expected to.

This book is written from the freshman's point of view, almost as a diary, and I think his way of over-analyzing everything made it seem so real. I remember doing very similar things as a kid (and even sometimes now). Remembering every word someone has said, wondering why they had used some words instead of others. Taking things a little too literally sometimes.

For a while throughout the book, it didn't feel like there was much of a plot. This boy was going throughout his days, trying new things, talking about his feelings, exposing himself to the reader. It was entertaining and raw, but I didn't know where it was going or how this was going to wrap into a cohesive story with an ending that felt like an ending. In the final pages, you uncover this secret that's been hidden between the lines the whole time, but I never noticed it was there. It's one of those things where, you uncover the truth, and you want to reread the story now that you know where it goes. Definitely worth reading!
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on April 11, 2017
I will admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. I don't know if it is because I am 45, but I could not relate to Charlie much at all. However, my student teacher is teaching it, so I forced myself to go on. I felt it got better as it went along. Charlie never seemed as authentic as I felt he should be. For one thing, his writing style did not match what a "genius" would write. I also had a problem with his constant crying. I understand why he did, and I don't have a problem with boys crying, but it seemed like he only cried, but never tried to find a way to fix things or even figure out why he was crying. However, I think teens will like this book, or at least appreciate it. I like Chris Crutcher books better.
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on April 6, 2017
Admittedly this will not be much of a true review because we couldn't get beyond the first chapter. Honestly, my teen and I were totally bored and disengaged by the style of this book (written as a series of letters) and we felt no connection to the main character whatsoever. My daughter and I often read YA books together and we both looked at each other after chapter one and said aloud, "There's 20 minutes of my life I won't get back." Lol! Seriously, we did! She told me she would muddle through and finish the book but I urged her not to. I am old enough, as a middle-aged parent, to know that it's important to cut your losses. If you're not interested in a book by the first couple of chapters then it's absolutely okay to put it aside and choose something new.

I'm disappointed that we couldn't get into this as the majority of the reviews were good but we just finished an excellent YA romance trilogy (by Stephanie Perkins) which we thoroughly enjoyed so this was a big let-down.

But, if it looks interesting to you, see for yourself and maybe you'll be with the majority and enjoy it. I've never been one to let a bad review of something stop me from reading or viewing something--nor should you. :)
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on April 17, 2013
Okay I fully admit if I wasn't married I would of passed on this just because I'm 40 and the title has "Wallflower" in it. Yeah, no car chases in THAT movie. But, my wife was insistent so I maned-up and sat down to watch this movie while I recorded a baseball game.

To my surprise, I loved this movie. It reminded me of some of the movies I watched in the 1980's like "Breakfast Club" or "Sixteen Candles" where you cared about the characters. You really do feel for the main character as he struggles to fit in starting High School. He's had to overcome adversity and starting High School and it's pressures to make friends and be relevant really added to his angst and you smiled, laughed and rooted for him as he made friends and was there for those around him as they were for him.

Thank God I didn't get misty-eyed afterwards or I'd have to check the date on my man card. But between you and me, I loved this film and recommend it.
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on March 8, 2017
When this book debuted in 1999, I was working in a large chain bookstore and I was the one to unpack it. With the original green cover and simple text "MTV Books" I was intrigued enough that I read it immediately. I loved it. I came of age in the early 90s myself (like Charlie) and this book is so true to life and authentic. It remains a favorite. The film was so good, I was pleasantly surprised and less so upon finding that Chbosky had a heavy hand in its creation. I recently purchased this for a friend's teenage daughter at her request and am excited to see how she likes it.
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on July 22, 2015
I have to admit that I wasn't interested in this book until I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation of it. Once I did decide to read it, I wasn't too sure what I was going to find inside it's odd cover.

I was thrown off a little at first because it's written a letter-like form. I got into it quickly, however, and almost read the entire book in one sitting.

The books rawness intrigued and captivated me in the same way as books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. There's a realness to the story and the characters that sometimes make me wonder if they're based on real people and events.

The book was very well written and the story was amazing. The Perks of Being a Wallflower had me chuckling at times and tearing up during others. I am dying to see the movie now. (Note: I wrote this review right when the movie came out. I have since seen and it was awesome.)

Rating: 4 Stars.
Characters: Charlie, Sam & Patrick.
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on April 9, 2017
To say I loved this book would be an understatement. To say that this story opens your heart would not do it justice. Charlie's coming of age story of his life is a familiar one. You may not have been the super introverted teen but maybe you did possess some awkwardness. You may not have lost your best friend but perhaps you've been around death. You may not have been molested but you struggled with your emotions at some point. The point is, the story is so relevant that it can be tailored to any individual's life. I've experienced this novel three separate times across 3 stages of my life, having a different perspective each time. I've experienced this novel as an introverted high schooler, as a depressed adult in my early twenties, and then again right before I became a graduate student. I've since listened to the audiobook an additional three times and I've seen the movie more times than I can recall. The story can be heartwarming and yet concerning. At times you'll feel so empathetic for Charlie that your hear is tearing out of your chest. You can feel what he feels. And you want for him what you feel he's so deserving of. No matter what stage of your life you're in, whether you're 15 or 45, you can place yourself in a similar situation that will have its own consequences, it's own repercussions, or its own triumph. And you will become instilled which a greater self-confidence and apprecitation for what you're doing in your own life, or what you wish to achieve, or what you're trying to dig yourself out from. This story exudes a sense of clarity through you, and you recognize that as it slowly moves along.
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