The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Review
Reviewed by Cassandra Hsiao
Written in the form of letters from protagonist Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower explores the rocky rollercoaster of adolescence. As Charlie makes his way through his first year in high school, two seniors, Sam and Patrick, take him under their wings. For the first time in his life, Charlie feels accepted as part of a group. The book boldly hits issues such as drugs, sexuality, and trauma that the three friends must navigate through. Charlie learns that even in the pitch-black darkness teens experience when they hit rock bottom, there are still moments of embracing the wind and a feeling of infinity.
What makes the book such a precious gem lies in Charlie’s straightforward narration. His wallflower personality comes through in his simple sentence structure, honest thought, and silent observations—and yet throughout the whole book he retains the unidentifiable charm that makes him so likeable. Charlie’s utter loneliness and confusion leaps off the page, but the book balances poignant moments with a sprinkle of heartbreaking humor and hope. Much like other YA realistic novels out there, Perks is largely character-driven, and author Stephen Chbosky’s creation of quiet Charlie, gorgeous Sam, and wild ring-leader Patrick will live infinitely in the minds of readers.
First published @ County of Los Angeles Public Library