Monday, August 13, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower ~ Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Pub Date: January 1999
Publisher: MTV Books
213 pages

Okay. So I hope no one hates me for this, but I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower...and I hated it. There, I said it. This was probably one of the worst books I have ever read. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to read it for the hype and the movie coming out. But at this point, I will not even watch the movie.I ended up reading parts of the book aloud to my husband to see if it was just me. I wish I could have taken a picture of his face during some of the scenes-priceless.

Why did I have issues with the book?

  • Well it starts that he is a 15 year old who is writing anonymous letters to some person he never met but just heard she was a good listener? How did he get her address? And he wrote to her for a little over a year, or close to it?
  • He is pouring out his heart and soul to this anonymous person but he is too scared to use any real names, places, etc just in case she puts 2 and 2 together and discovers who he is? 
  • Charlie is 15 years old and he doesn't know what masturbation is and/or assumes someone who is older than him doesn't know what it is? Then explains to her what it is...And he tells her about masturbation and having masturbation breaks at work instead of coffee breaks just to be cute? What?! "I'm only trying to be cute here. I don't really mean it. I just wanted to make you smile. I meant the "wow" though." (The "wow" statement being more of a trick to being cute.) This seriously pissed me off. Not that he either didn't know about it or whatever. But he started talking about it to a female stranger. I almost stopped the book here. 
  • How naive/sheltered do you have to be to not know when someone is being raped? My disgust was so huge at this point that I almost stopped reading. He knew enough to later ask "He raped that girl didn't he?" He helped that asshole rape the girl in my opinion because he didn't try to stop it or get help. He just sat there and covered his ears!
  • Charlie did not appear to be any 15 year old I've ever encountered. Just the amount of crying makes me curious about him-is there something a bit more serious going on than just needing a shrink? Why doesn't his family realize this?

So with all my dislike for the book, there is one thing that I did appreciate. Through the course of the book we see Charlie's mental decline.  He is not doing so well and needs help-and by the end of the book he gets it. And I had to keep telling myself 'This is 1991/2 Ginny.'
And I guess kudos for trying to include every single teen issue in one book. Drugs, sex, alcohol, teen pregnancy, rape, suicide, abortion, masturbation, molestation, homophobia, being gay, um what else..oh physical abuse. Yeah, I think that was all of them. Unfortunately it was not executed very well. In fact, seemed far fetched and almost forced.

Would I recommend this train wreck to anyone? No. I honestly have not disliked a book so much. I do not see any 'coming of age' or anything special about the book. Even the format was not special to me!

Ugh, on the bright side, at least I can say I've read the book now. That's the only perk of the book.

From GoodReads: Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

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