BOOK REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – by Stephen Chbosky


Title: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: 1999
Finished reading: August 10th 2015
Pages: 224
Rating 3,5

“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”


I have heard mixed things about The Perks Of Being A Wallflower for many years now and I thought it was about time I finally read this controversial novel by Stephen Chbosky. This story has appeared on my banned books lists ever since it was published fifteen years ago and now I’ve read it I can understand why some people might be offended by some of the themes discussed. Still, I don’t think The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is such a bad read for teenagers. The characters are very realistic and it deals with a lot of themes like sex, drugs and domestic violence that teenagers should be aware of. The prose is interesting with all the letters Charlie writes to his friend. I do I think I would have liked the story better if I would have read it ten years ago… I probably would have connected better to the characters. Still, I would definitely recommend it to fans of realistic YA fiction; it’s a very interesting read.


Charlie is a freshman and very intelligent. He is also shy and socially awkward… Making him into a wallflower. He has two very good friends though, Patrick and Sam, who help him develop some social skills. Charlie tells his story through letters to an unnamed friend; we see him struggle to fit in with the ‘normal’ teenagers and deal with his own feelings. Charlie can’t stand on the sidline forever; it’s time he learns how to start living. And life sure isn’t easy…


I did enjoy The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, but not as much as I know some others. Part of the problem might be that I feel this novel is meant for teenagers and I cannot connect to the characters in the same way now I’m 27. I did like the prose and the letters Charlie wrote to his friend, but I just wasn’t blown away by it. Fans of realistic YA fiction will probably love this novel though!

12 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – by Stephen Chbosky

  1. I think that’s why I haven’t really picked this one up from my bookshelf, because of the mixed reviews. I have seen the movie, and that’s really why I bought the book to begin with. I may give it a go soon. Great review!


  2. I agree that it’s definitely a novel that works best if you’re around the same age as the characters in the story – probably to be read before or during high school. I read it for the first time this spring, as a 24-year-old, so some of the topics didn’t really speak to me anymore. Lovely review!


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