Thursday, August 2, 2007

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Since I often get asked for book recommendations, I'm starting a new monthly feature called Book Review where I'll review a book I've recently read. Since this is just starting out it will probably be a bit rough at first til I find a style. Your comments and feedback are much appreciated.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Written in letter format, Perks is an insightful account of high school in the early 90s as told by a boy named Charlie to an anonymous friend. Charlie is anxious as he starts his freshman year and reveals all to this friend of a friend in what is sometimes almost painfully honest detail.

Charlie is able to stand along the sidelines of life and often see the truth no one else sees or wants to see. He's the character everyone feels comfortable opening up to and he loves the good in everyone. He does everything from the heart and this is what makes him both a sad and admirable character. I found myself wondering at the end of the book whether if I would have been friends with him when I was in high school. And the honest answer is I don't know if I would have taken the time to get to know him to become friends.

The characters are so realistic and flawed but very relatable. Everyone has known a Patrick or Mary Elizabeth at some point. And Chbosky has a wonderful ability in painting a picture so vivid and yet so broad that you end up inserting yourself among the characters and living through those moments that when you feel infinite.

What's also great about this book is how much high school has changed but also how much it's still the same. Just about anyone who attended high school in the last 20 or 25 years will read this book and feel like someone had read their high school diary.

But underneath those infinite moments lies an awfull truth that leaves the narrator exposed and the reader wondering at what is often a double standard of sexual abuse.

If you're looking for a quick, easy read, I'd recommend this book.

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