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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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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 February 5, 2017
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a truly moving story about Charlie, a freshman in high school, who is by no means popular. He is very shy, but that all comes down to a mental issue that occurred because of something that happened when he was younger, which you will get the gist of later on in the book. The author, Stephen Chbosky, has plotted this story very well. It isn't your average book set up - Charlie writes letters to an anonymous reader known as 'Friend'. Charlie tells this person everything he does and feels, who he meets and loves. Charlie meets two outgoing outsiders that are much cooler than him, but they accept him and he finally feels included. Patrick, a gay, happy and outgoing teen, and Sam, a beautiful young woman, introduce Charlie to a new world filled with sex, drugs and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They also show Charlie the power of music and Charlie becomes more and more music savvy. He particularly likes The Smiths and the song ‘Asleep’. Charlie goes on a rollercoaster ride full of emotions, and learns that he has the greatest friends he could wish for. If you read this story you will laugh, cry and keep reading on. It is not to be missed. Charlie will show you that high school can be enjoyed if you have the right friends and becoming a teenager isn't as scary as you think, even though it seems that way. Although, I could not relate to any of the characters in the book, it was interesting to learn about what other people might be going through. This book really opened my eyes, and made me realize that people might seem fine on the outside, but there are often bigger things going on in their lives. Charlie's story touched me, because I feel like many authors don't like to talk about the things that Charlie went through as a kid. It was a refreshingly new way of writing. I would most definitely recommend this book to a friend because I think that everyone would enjoy reading this book. If I could change something about this book, I wouldn’t change anything. Although some parts were sad, I think that the book wouldn't be half as good if anything was changed in it.  All in all, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an easy and fun read, and I highly recommend picking it up.
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on November 5, 2017
The protagonist tells the story via letter he (Charlie) is writing to someone but we don’t know who. He starts his letter off with the date and Dear Friend. He explains in his first letter why he’s writing the letters but doesn’t give a clue as to who the person is. Even at the end of the book we don’t know how the person is he’s writing to, but it doesn’t matter. By the mere fact that he starts each letter with Dear Friend we become that person he is confiding in, and that’s what he’s doing in each of these letters, confiding in us.

We follow Charlie through a year of school (freshman year when we meet Charlie). He introduces us to his friends Patrick, Sam (Patrick’s sister), Bill (Charlie’s English teacher who thinks the world of Charlie), Charlie’s sister, brother and parents and those he comes in contact with. We learn secrets of these people, things that happen to them that only Charlie can share with us and things that happen to Charlie that he can only share with us. There are somethings he won’t tell us, which is fine
-Patrick (high school senior) is gay and having a secret affair with Brad, the star quarterback of the school
-Charlie’s sister (high school senior) gets pregnant and has an abortionCharlie has a crush on Sam (but you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens with those two)
-Charlie takes LSD, has taken up smoking cigarettes and weed and drinks at times
-Charlie gets a girlfriend and loses that girlfriend and his friends in the process (you have to read the book to understand it more)

We learn how dysfunctional Charlie’s family is but not in a disturbing way. More in a normal dysfunctional way, where the sister hates the brother at times. Father ignores the son at times. No likes Charlie at times. But mostly, we grow to like Charlie right away and hope for the best for him.

Although Charlie is a wallflower by nature, he still remains a wallflower in his own way throughout the book when he’s with his friends at parties or at Big Boy. He becomes part of the party while still sitting on the sidelines. He is apart of the many conversations while still sitting on the sidelines. Not physically of course. His letters are detailed that it’s like he was watching everything go down as well be apart of everything.

Charlie has a way of staying positive throughout the letters even when things are going really wrong for him, because he has us to talk to. These letters are a way for him to remain sane through it all the best he can.

Perks reminds me of my high school days and how simple things really were then. Charlie begins realizes this too through the book.

There were some things I didn’t understand since the book is written between 1991 and 1992. For instance, the time Charlie comes home to find his sister watching Gomer Pyle. Gomer Pyle was in the 70’s. The author fails to tell us if the sister is watching via TVLand or another station that plays old shows. Doesn’t it matter? Yeah, it does to me, but then again, I’m probably being too particular. Charlies bring up VHS tapes, but I had remember this was the early 90’s and that’s what we had then. He talks about writing letters; again, the 90’s and email was not known or used widely then.

I don’t find the 90’s as being that long ago and reading this book really made me realize how primitive (compared to today’s standards) we were. In essence, pen and paper were the tools of the day. Not Facebook, not emails, not Twitter, but pen and paper. There is a point in the book that Charlie is given a typewriter by Sam..a typewriter. Again, it’s the time period. I still think typewriters are great.

Some have Said that Charlie is this generation’s Holden Caulfield from Catcher In The Rye and I strongly disagree. Holden was a rebel from the beginning; Charlie was a loaner and never did become a rebel in my opinion.

This book will resonate with anyone of any age and I feel it will become a favorite among those that are teenagers now when they get older, like Judy Blume books are with us adults now.
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on September 12, 2017
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is not just another film that portrays the toils of teen angst, it goes deeper: we see sources of awkwardness, anguish, and regret, and we see the types of behavior choices these feelings enact. This is the human condition, and we need to be reminded of that from time to time to be cognizant not only of our own feelings and doubts but also to better understand what others around us are going through.

It's no surprise that John Hughes wanted to direct The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and even wrote a first draft of the screenplay of the Stephen Chbosky novel. After Hughes' untimely passing the producers made the correct choice to have author Chbosky write the final script and direct the film. Chbosky does a remarkable job of balancing pain and entertainment, and the young cast is up to the task with tremendous performances that are nuanced and believable rising far above cliche teen portrayals.

Anyone who's been a teenager should watch this film, and anyone who has kids that will be teenagers should watch this film. We've all been a Charlie or a Sam or a Patrick and that is what makes the film relatable and real. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a rare gem, a masterpiece that not only entertains but informs and inspires hope.
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on January 24, 2016
I loved this book.

I picked it up after watching the movie (rare form for someone who is a reader first and a moviegoer second), expecting something different than what I got. There are a few things that you need to know before deciding whether or not this book is for you.

First, the book is very short. It's heavy due to the quality of the paper (incredible!), but it's a particularly short little book. I like this because the format made it more difficult for me to read and the length of the book allowed me to get through it faster than I might have otherwise.

Second, the book is written in a second-person narrative through the letters of Charlie to an unknown recipient.

Third, that it is set in the nineties, and the author does an amazing job of capturing the feel of this decade throughout the writing. The reader may be immersed entirely in a new timeline. Chbosky did a wonderful job of making me feel that I was in the decade in which I (like Charlie) graduated from high school.

I think that this third point was my favorite thing about this book, though there are many things that I loved about it.

I loved the fact that the epistolary format allowed me to read one or two small chunks at a time, making the book more manageable since second person is difficult for me to read.

I loved the fact that Chbosky captured the nineties as well as he did. It's not so much that it's a difficult decade as that it's not often done.

I loved the way that Chbosky wove the central storyline throughout the book instead of rushing straight ahead with it. In so many ways this is the story of the life of a fourteen-year-old high school freshman, his struggles, the things that he goes through an that he deals with, but the underlying storyline is huge, and the author does an amazing job of revealing it slowly, the way that a teenager might do in a series of letters to a stranger.

Charlie's struggles are real, things that every teenager grows up with, regardless of the time in which they group up. He struggles with immature love for an older girl, with uncontrollable rage, with frustration, with his relationships with his sister and brother and with his parents. He is one of the most relatable characters I've ever read about in what may be considered a "young adult" novel.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It's incredible!

My only complaint is that I struggle with this type of format. I'm not fond of the letters, and though it works for this particular novel, I struggle to read it for long periods of time, which meant that I couldn't sit down and read this book from cover to cover the way that I might otherwise have done.
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on October 23, 2017
I adored how this book was written because you were reading from a personal point of view.
The letter/ journal style writing was endearing and insightful and the main character enough to break your heart, especially as you learned what he had been through. So many brilliant minds do not fit into the mainstream so they are bullied, picked on or considered slower than their peers when in fact they are light years beyond.
This is a heartfelt and raw view into what its like to be in high school and trying to figure out who you are and how you relate to the world. Absolutely loved this book!
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VINE VOICEon July 30, 2014
This nifty little book, perhaps the closest thing to a turn-of-the-twenty-first-century Bildungsroman that’s ever been written, effectively depicts the angst of contemporary adolescence just before the advent of cell phones, social networking, and virtual ubiquity.

Charlie, our epistolary narrator, tells his story through letters written to an unnamed “friend.” There seems to be nothing unusual or unique about Charlie—he lives with his loving parents, his older sister and his older brother, who is away at college (Penn State, to be precise) playing football. He experiences the anxiety and unexpected joys typical of most ninth graders. He becomes friends with step-siblings Patrick and Samantha, who support him and love him and introduce him a wide variety of people. Charlie stumbles through his first crush, his first date, his first kiss.

Charlie also happens to be extraordinarily sensitive and unusually kind. It’s all very sweet and endearing. His acute sensitivity sometimes sparks odd behavior—a lack of communicativeness, aimless wandering, almost catatonia. It becomes clear that something very troubling is occurring beneath Charlie’s sweet demeanor. That something is ultimately revealed at the end of this poignant novel, and the source of Charlie’s underlying unease significantly alters our understanding of his adolescent tribulations.

Powerful, convincing, and genuine, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” has earned its place alongside classics like “The Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” (The list of books that Charlie’s English teacher gives Charlie to read adds a clever postmodern intertextuality to the story).
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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 November 17, 2013
I agree with another reviewer, Stephen Chbosky's film should have won several Oscars, from screenplay to directing to acting. All three of the primary actors, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson were at their best in this film. Logan Lerman's Charlie is miraculous. For such a young actor to understand the power of minimalism is astonishing. I've watched the film several times, and I can't help noticing Lerman's actorly stillness. He knows that less is more, and because he seemingly does nothing, he inadvertently steals every scene he's in. It's a good stealing because Lerman is not out to steal, his attention exquisitely focused on the other actors. Their scenes are a fine example of ensemble acting. No one is out to hog a scene. Ezra Miller is an astounding actor who completely embodies the role of Patrick. He was born for this role. Emma Watson is so believable as an American senior in high school, her British accent left in England. And Logan Lerman, he too was born for the role of Charlie. His acting is all in the face, in the eyes, in the mouth. He actually listens to his friends, he looks at them, offering them himself in acts of exquisite attention, so it is no wonder that he knows exactly what to give them on Christmas. He knows his friends. Yes, the major theme to Chbosky's film is friendship, beautifully underscored in three powerful scenes, the Kissing scenes. The first scene involves Sam and Charlie. Sam has been sexually abused by men and boys. Her first kiss stolen by her father's boss when she was a mere girl. She wants something far more magical for her friend Charlie. She tells Charlie that she wants his first kiss to come from someone who loves him. She loves him, a love the Greeks would call Philia (friendly). When she kisses Charlie, she is not aware yet that Charlie's love for her is of another kind, what the Greeks would describe as Eros (romantic). Later in the film, Sam and Charlie kiss again on Sam's bed, but this time both experience romantic love, Eros (erotic). Then there is the kiss between Patrick and Charlie.
In this scene, Patrick is dejected, for he has been rejected by his male lover Brad. He wonders if he will ever meet and love a good man, and just as he articulates this, he turns and there sitting next to him is a good person. And he impulsively kisses Charlie. He instantly realizes his mistake and says, "I'm sorry." But no problem. Charlie accepts Patrick's display of love. He has already been the recipient of love from both Patrick and his step-sister Sam. It was Patrick who invited Charlie to sit with him at the football game. It was Patrick and Sam who accepted Charlie on the dance floor, forming a circle while they danced. It was Patrick and Sam who brought Charlie to his first party. This brother and sister invited Charlie into life, urging him to "participate." Charlie, therefore, loves them unconditionally, a love the Greeks call Agape. Agapetic loves does not judge, it accepts another with no strings attached. Charlie loves Patrick, and his response to Patrick's apology is simply, "It's okay."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful film, and it will survive. A Wonderful Life was not honored when it first came out, but it is now watched by millions every Christmas. And what are the perks of being a wallflower? To love and to be loved. Nothing can beat that!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Mr. Chbosky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on January 30, 2018
I was brought to the book because I loved the movie, so I decided to give it a try. Admittedly, I was at first put off by the letter format of the book, but I quickly became accustomed and it was not as distracting as I thought it would be.

If you're a fan of the movie, definitely give the book a try. The movie was extremely faithful to the book, only (as to be expected), the book goes more into depth with relationships and Charlie's emotions and thought processes.

Originally I rented the book from the library, but I ended up buying it because it was just so amazing. I don't often re-read books, but this one definitely deserves a re-reading.
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