The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky


The Perks of Being a Wallflower


The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Stephen Chbosky

First Edition: 1999

Original language: English


Written in the form of letters to an anonymous “dear friend,” The Perks of Being a Wallflower recounts a young boy’s freshman year in high school in 1991-1992.  Charlie is a sensitive boy, intelligent, with a “normal” family: his brother has just gone off to play football for Penn State, and his sister is a pretty high school senior who tortures boys.

Considering himself an outcast, Charlie starts high school friendless and afraid.  He soon meets Patrick and Sam, step-brother and –sister.  They soon make friends and Charlie falls in with a group of artsy kids who go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show and work on an underground punk magazine at their school.  Even though they are all seniors, Charlie is welcomed as part of the group.

Charlie has the regular experiences that boys in high school do: having a crush, a first kiss; finding his own taste in music, books, movies, girls; and dealing with rejection and family issues in a beautiful and honest coming of age novel.


“So this is my life and I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

“Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, we felt young in a good way.”

“I just think it’s bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that the way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is.”

“I had an amazing feeling when I finally held the tape in my hand.  I just thought to myself that in the palm of my hand, there was this one tape that held all of these memories and feelings and great joy and sadness.  Right there in the palm of my hand.  And I thought about how many people have loved those songs.  And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs.  And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs.  And how much those songs really mean.”  Ahhhh, the beauty of the mix tape…

“My brother looked at me like a deer caught by my cousins.”

“There’s nothing like the deep breaths after laughing that hard.  Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.  It was great.”


I absolutely loved this book.  Which was completely unexpected because when I got it on my Kindle and started to go through it, I saw that it was an MTV book.  “Oh no,” I thought.  Then I saw that it was another book about high school.  “Oh NO!”  But this was a beautiful, honest, and touching book about high school with a main character that you just want to hug and adopt as your little brother.

I love it because, maybe I’m dating myself, but I was in high school in 1991, and I felt a little like this was a record of my life.  Especially the music…

This was a book about the joy of discovering yourself, life, friends, love, heartbreak…  I can’t say enough good things about it.

Something else that I loved was that it wasn’t some tragic, angst-filled book where someone dies or kills or has some horrible family.  This was a good kid from a good family where there are problems like any other, but there was love and understanding and communication.  The kids in the book were not drug addicts or mass murderers, but good kids growing up and discovering the world and themselves.  A sweet, honest book that is well worth the time.

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