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Showing 1-10 of 5,039 reviews(verified purchases). Show all reviews
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 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 September 21, 2013
I specifically ordered the book with the Original cover. When I received it, it was the New cover with the picture of The Movie on the cover. I was not happy since I specifically asked for the original Cover. I paid more the the "Edition Original".
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on July 19, 2016
This book was on a list of recommended readings for people who are feeling very depressed or anxious, as a bit of a coping mechanism, and they weren't wrong in including it. I felt like I could have been friends with these characters. I understood them. I felt a lot less alone. I loved that this weird kid, with all of these social oddities and strange behaviors - this outcast kid - could find people who loved and accepted him. He found a place where he fit in. It wasn't easy, and he had his share of struggles, but I just loved this character and how they painted him.

Loved this. So good.
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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 August 18, 2016
This is my favorite book of all time. The main character Charlie is intelligent, funny and honest. His heartfelt letters tell an alarmingly realistic story of a young man trying to find his way as a Freshman in high school whilst navigating the emotions and traumas of personal experiences from his past involving family and friends. Charlie and his friends have fun, make mistakes, fall in and out of love, and grow over the course of his first year in high school. Chbosky creates a story that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions but leave you feeling like you too, have experienced Charlie's Freshman year. The movie that was created based on the book is fantastic as well; written and directed by the author, it might not be exactly what you expect in all aspects but was brilliantly done. Nearly as brilliant as this novel.
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on October 11, 2016
This may be the only book in our book club that we all enjoyed. It is rather surprising since some of our book club members don't enjoy young adult, but this story is much more than that. It's the kind of story that sticks with you and goes deeper than you think. The way the main character expresses himself by writing letters helps you get into his head and you can see him grow. It is emotional and takes you on a bit of roller coaster. Several of us admitted that we got a little teary at the end. I enjoyed reading it and recommended that my 14 year old son read it, so we could discuss it together. It think it is an important coming of age book that you can read at any age and enjoy.
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on September 1, 2016
First off, I love the format of the book. Using letters seems very personal and unforgiving. The way Charlie feels so confidant in his format is a beautiful contradiction to how he seems to others and feels about himself.

There is great character development individually and as a group. I was surprised by many of the things that happened to several people. Other events fell in line with what I was thinking would happen.

Altogether this book was very easy to read and kept my attention the entire time. I think this is something I will read again and I would love to watch the movie.
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on February 21, 2016
On a boring summer afternoon, I stumbled upon the movie, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and fell in love. The movie, while many said it didn't compare to the book, was an intriguing storyline filled with dynamic characters. Once i found out that this was a book, I ordered it on the same day, and got it in 2 days (prime shipping is amazing, FYI) and immediately threw myself into this storyline. As I read the first few chapters, I wondered if the book would be as good as the movie. It was. It always is. This is a book for YA readers, but meant for people of all ages. From its relatable story line to the common struggles that we can all relate too. This is a book that can be read over twenty times and still intrigue you every single time. Get it, you won't regret it.
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