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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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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 the 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.

(back cover)

213 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 1999

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About the author

Stephen Chbosky

16 books12.7k followers
Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

He is the recipient of the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Everything Divided as well as a participant in the Sundance Institute's filmmakers' lab for his current project, Fingernails and Smooth Skin. Chbosky lives in New York.

For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 85,387 reviews
Profile Image for MizzSandie.
337 reviews351 followers
January 23, 2022

I did not like this book.

I am about to try to explain why that is so, here, in my own, personal review space. I am critiqing this book, based on my own opinions, personal taste, experiences and perspective, criteria and standards for literary work. It is entirely subjective, as I think all reviews, per definition, are.

I mean no disrespect to the people who like this book, and who have found in it something of value. You are as entitled to your own opinion, subjective readingexperience, and standards, as I am, and yours is just as valid. And you have the same opportunity as me, to use your own review space, to clarify that. We don’t all have to agree. One opinion isn’t ‘wrong’ and the other ‘right’ – they are both right, personally speaking, because it is subjective.
If you are a big fan of this book, and have difficulty in understanding or respecting people, who disagree with you, especially on issues that are important to you, I advice you not to read any further. I will not be saying nice things about this book.

I want to underline that I look at Charlie as a written character, not a real person, and I critique the book as a literary piece of work, not as a real life story. To me, there is a huge difference between the two.

Some of the things that matter most to me in books are prose/writing style, storytelling and message. It’s one of the things that can make or break a book for me.
In this case, the writing style just didn't work for me.
It was just too lacking .
Maybe it's the whole premise of the book, a story narrated by someone who is emotionally inhibited as Charlie, that didn't work for me? Maybe, but it didn't have to be. That issue and Charlie’s character could have been explored and dealt with, literary, in other ways.
The book could have had Charlie’s narration interact with someone else’s (like an answer to the letters for example), or it could have been written in the 3rd person, maintaining Charlie’s point of view, but also being able to draw in other views, and how they collide with Charlie’s.

I find it a bit concerning, that Chbosky wrote a book with so many serious issues like suicide, death, rape, social exclusion/inclusion, relationship violence, abortion, drugs, homosexual adventures, childmolestation/incest, parties, fights, without really dealing with any one of them in depth. To have all of these issues crammed into one book, without giving it the time and place it deserves, I felt, was a huge fault. Each one of these issues needs to be taken seriously, not pointed out on one page, just to be forgotten on the next. If you are going to write about these things, write about it well, give it the space and the in-depth exploration it deserves. To make the reader care for these characters, for these issues, the author and the characters involved must care too. I had a hard time stomaching that both Chbosky and the characters seemed to care so little, for something that is so very very real and so very very difficult, for so many people. It was almost making a mockery of them, which was very off-putting to me.
The staccato writing and Charlie’s detached narrating, made me feel detached as well.
The story is written in a very plain, very dull, very simple language, with the same sentences reoccurring over and over (eg. "..I don't know why.." , "He/she looked sad.")
The emotional description amounts to 'sad' or 'happy'.

The portrayals of Charlie and everyone else in the story was so lacking that they felt like cardboard cutouts and simply came off as what they were; made up characters in a fictional story (and not a very good one at that if you ask me).

The main character, Charlie, is 15, but comes off as much younger than that. Again, I would have wished for some more in-depth exploration of why and what is the basis of this, to better be able to understand and relate to Charlie’s character.

Charlie also cries a lot, which wouldn’t be a problem, if it was more nuancedly described. I don’t want to see /read about just the surface tears. I want to be taken behind the tears, into the pool they stem from, the pain they are a symptom of and maybe a release from? I want the author to show me what these tears mean, I want to understand them, to be touched by them, to be moved with the ebb and flow of them. In this case, that didn’t happen.
The sentence "I/he/she started to cry" alone, just doesn’t stir much emotion in me. Especially not when thrown about on every other page. Then it just gets bothersome and tiring.
It's not that I have an aversion to tears (my own or others'). Crying is normal, and can be very healthy and soothing.
But when it comes to a literary work, I expect the author to give more nuanced descriptions of feelings than just bucketful of tears. Okay, so they are sad. Very, very sad. Very often. Now, show me what that sadness does to someone, besides producing tears, tears, tears. I am not interested in the tears alone. The sadness is the root, the tears are a symptom. Many people are filled with sadness, but don’t produce many tears. Sadness can overflow in many ways. So: the sadness is the key.
Which is why I was so disappointed that Chbosky never digged deeper than this very very thin surface. All I got was tears. And I wonder if all the crying came down to Chbosky simply not knowing how else to describe emotions, or how explore them.

Much thought and debate has been given to the question why Charlie is, the way he is.
There is the fact that he suffered from childhood trauma, and then there is the question of whether or not Charlie might be autistic. The latter is hinted at and up for interpretation, but never explicitly stated/diagnosed.
The autistic spectrum is a varied one, and it comes in many forms, very few fitting the standard, but classic ‘rainman’ syndrome of a very intelligent but socially closed off person. It’s admirable to want to write about autism, a difficult diagnosis to live with, sure. I just don’t think Chbosky is doing autistic people any favors or justice with his depiction of Charlie as someone who might or might not be autistic.
Again I must say: if you are going to write about it, write about it with care. Don’t make it into a guessing game, but own it. Don’t glamorize or deride it, but show its many layers and nuances through the particulars and the concrete.
The same goes for the psychological trauma. It wasn’t given the care and attention it deserved. It was left at the end as an easy way out, like 'hey, he suffered/suffers from this and so i'm excused for writing a terribly boring book'.
Whatever made Charlie the way he is, it doesn’t compensate for how the story was written and pulled off.
To me, it's really besides the point, since I don’t base my rating/review on pity for a character.

SO whether Charlie has any form of autism or not, doesn't really matter, because I thought he and the story was very poorly written.
and let me be clear about this:
It's not the disorder I have a problem with, it's the writing of it.

Note (November, 2013): I recently saw the movie, and thought it was better than the book.
Maybe because it fixed some of the issues I had with the book, like it left some of the drama llama out and it wasn't as heavily centered on Charlie's narration and perspective, and emotions and reactions was expressed through expressions instead of just (bad) writing. Different type of media - different possibilities. For this story, i think movie worked better than writing.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
June 6, 2012
If, like me, you lurk on frequent tumblr, you will have realised that there is only so far you can scroll before you hit something like this:


Stephen Chbosky’s epistolary novel has something of a cult following, and the quotes that litter the internet seem almost anthemic, given the passion with which they are re-blogged, quoted, slapped across artfully light-leaked photographs and “liked”.

A generation appears to have adopted The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and by extension it’s narrator Charlie, as a sort of symbol of the experience of adolescence. Frequently criticised and challenged, Perks seems to offer its devoted fans a sense of connection, of understanding, of honesty about things left unspoken, or whispered behind hands and closed doors. This book speaks to the sense of alienation that many teens experience, the questions of who they are and where they belong. Charlie has become a response to – and I mean no disrespect by this, as I was/am a voice in this – a collective, plaintive cry of “nobody understands me”.

It also seems to have become an unofficial badge of hipsterism, and therein lies the reason for my cautious approach to reading this book.

To be blunt, I expected to dislike Perks. I know my reading tastes quite well by now and I no longer feel the need to read books based on any kind of social or intellectual cachet apparently attached to them. If anything, that just makes me more inclined to baulk at picking them up.

So I confess to a little chagrin at the realisation that I don’t hate this book. I don’t even dislike it. I’ll push the boat right out and say I was rather moved by this story.

While some of the issues and content in Perks may seem less groundbreaking now, more than a decade after it’s initial publication, I think it’s fair to say that they still resonate with readers. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since 1999 in terms of “edgy” or “controversial” YA books, so it’s possible that the impact of the explicit or implied events in Chbosky’s novel are somewhat softened by comparison. Regardless, it’s still a book that successfully captures the way these topics are internalised by the protagonist, and it’s evidently a voice that continues to engage and move its more recent audience. Basically, it’s not strictly the topics that appeal, so much as the manner in which they’re approached and discussed.

That said, there is a lot going on in this book, and I have to wonder whether the sheer breadth of the issues touched upon lessens the strength of the story. And not in the sense that I think the events are unrealistic, necessarily, but more that (and I offer this opinion with some trepidation) at times Perks reads like it’s a bit in love with its own moroseness. The novel’s gaze is so relentlessly self-involved that I can’t help but feel that there is something indulgent in its tone, which I was not enamoured with.

Whether “wallflower” is a strictly accurate descriptor for Charlie is a topic I’ve seen expanded upon in other reviews, and I won’t go into that much here. Charlie is evidently an introvert, allegedly “gifted”, who has a rich and consuming inner world, but I think it’s clear that there is more at play here than simple shyness, intellectually and socially speaking. While some of Charlie’s emotional state is explained at the end of the novel, I feel that there’s even more to Charlie than Chbosky ever reveals, hinted at by the apparent naivety of his fifteen / sixteen years.

What I did appreciate, and what ultimately caused me to like this book, was how accurately Charlie’s experiences with anxiety and depression were presented. Prior to this, I hadn’t read a book that so closely mirrored the physical and emotional manifestation of anxiety as I am familiar with it. The deeply unsettling sensation of nebulous tentacles of panic radiating out in search of something to fixate on, of instability and uncontrolled sadness, honestly made me feel nauseous. I can’t help but wish I’d had this book in my hands when I was teenager, when it probably would have meant the world to me. Anxiety is an incredibly frightening and isolating condition, and I think this book communicates that very truthfully. The sensation of being a spectator of life, rather than a participant in it, is all too relevant and close-to-home for many who have experienced a mental illness in some form.

It’s probably no surprise then, that I found Chobsky’s characterisation one of the highlights of this book. From Charlie himself as the narrator, through the supporting cast, I felt that I knew who these people were, that they were real. (It actually makes me curious to see the film adaptation, and how the nuances and subtleties of the characters translate to the screen).

I can’t say that I’ll be joining the ranks of dedicated, vocal fans of The Perks of a Wallflower, leaving a trail of quotes in my wake across the internet. But I am quietly appreciative of this book, and the powerful, unique experience of reading it.

You can read Shirley Marr's extremely awesome take on this book here. Prepare for your daily cup of radness to runneth over.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At Shirley’s request:

Ode to a Readalong (or I’m Sorry I Abandoned You Shirley) (or This Poem Is Too Cool To Rhyme)

I tried to be a hipster today
But they said my haircut wasn’t cool enough
So I guess it’s back to being a real nerd
Instead of a pretend one

Then I thought I'd read The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In my scarf with my fixie-riding friend Shirley
Turn up my Smiths record really loud
And contemplate my infiniteness

But my mockery proved empty, hollow like my heart
I wept bitter tears as I turned each page
Trapped in a glass cage of emotion
As I realised I will never be hip


Shirley & Reynje's Hipsterific Readalong - Coming in 2012

Miss Shirley, get your scarf on! I'm waiting for you..(in the meantime, I'll be listening to bands that are so cool they don't even exist yet.)

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Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
654 reviews1,293 followers
February 22, 2016
Wallflower (noun)

a shy or retiring person who remains unnoticed at social events, especially a woman without a dance partner

I decided to read this book not because there was going to be a movie coming out soon.
It one of the reasons but then again it wasn’t the main one.
I wanted to read it because the word “wallflower” caught my attention.

I was a wallflower.
I was not one of those kids people notice immediately.
I was one of those people who blends in very well that I was no longer noticeable.
I was a “nobody”.
I was one of those uncool kids back in high school that almost no one spoke to because I always kept to myself.
I was insecure.
I was scared that if I try to talk no one would listen.
Actually I think I still am even though I am already working.
I am still a “nobody” here.
I have a couple of friends but it seems like no one really knows who I really am because I never let them find out who I really was.
They know my name and a couple of unimportant things but I think that’s about it.
They don’t really care about the things I like, the things that make me cry, the things that make me smile.
I was just another person they knew by name but never really knew at all.

Perks of Being a Wallflower has to be one of the books that I could relate to.
It was very insightful and poignant that in most part of this book I felt like it was me writing those letters.

Charlie (the main character) and I don’t have very much in common but still I found myself relating to his situation almost all throughout the book.
I was not as introverted nor was I as smart as he was but there was something about how the author wrote him that you’ll start to see the world through his eyes.
You’ll see how innocent and pure his outlook was in life.

Charlie wasn’t normal and he knew it.
He was struggling after the death of his favorite Aunt.
He tried his best to “participate” but there is still this part of him that would be locked away from everyone else.
Charlie was a freshman and he still has a lot of things to learn.
Hanging out with Patrick and Sam (who were both seniors) exposed him to a lot of things he wasn’t used to (like smoking, drinking, making out those sort of stuff).
His letters mirrors the experience or the things we went through during his first year in high school.

As I was saying earlier I loved this book a lot because I related much with not only the character but with the whole story.
We may not be like Charlie but the things he went through in high school were something almost everyone went through.
I didn’t do drugs nor did I smoke a lot when I was in high school.
But some kids were motivated in doing so by peer pressure but in Charlie’s case I think it was more of curiosity rather than peer pressure.
This book showed us how a special kid like Charlie would cope with being in high school and overcoming the problems he would encounter as he goes along.

Another thing I loved about this book was how it was written.
Though it was written back in the 90’s when you read it, you’ll get this impression that it was just written recently in a 90’s setting.
This book was transcend time.
When you read it probably in the next 10 years you would still be able to relate to it.

There were a lot of good quotations in this book but one really stood out for me:

So, I guess we are who we are for a lot 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.

We are all different.
We are also all the same.
Most of us may not be as smart as Charlie or as popular as Brad (who I think was an a**hole) but all of us can still make a difference.
We may be experiencing troubles right now but that could change based on the decisions or choices that we would make.

I don’t think this is much of a review but more of a rant.
Sorry my dear readers if this review disappointed you but I kind of like sharing my thoughts about a book that I really connected with.
This book was one of them.

I give this book 5 wonderful glittery stars!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
December 26, 2021
Clueless. I am clueless. The popularity of this book baffles me even more than the popularity of The Fault in Our Stars. Maybe I really am just a coldhearted person with no feelings.

Amazingly, I actually managed to start The Perks of Being a Wallflower knowing absolutely nothing about it. I've avoided all the reviews and hype over the years, I've purposely put off seeing the movie because I wanted to check out the book first. I knew nothing except that so many people LOVE this book. I was a bit sceptical from the very first page when 15-year-old Charlie's narrative opened with short, choppy, fragmented sentences:

I don't think that there is a favorite kid in our family. There are three of us and I am the youngest. My brother is the oldest. He is a very good football player and likes his car. My sister is very pretty and mean to boys and she is in the middle.

But I perked up at the idea of reading a book by a narrator with obvious learning difficulties. One of my favourite parts of reading is getting to see the world through the eyes of someone whose perspective I might not have fully considered before. So I was willing to overlook the slightly annoying use of immature language and structure because I realised it was needed to get inside the narrator's head. Imagine my surprise and confusion when I discovered that not only does Charlie not have any learning difficulties, but he is actually considered "intelligent beyond his years", is apparently extremely talented and somehow manages to get straight-A grades. What????? And also how?????

It's like I'm missing something. I must be, right? Because to me this seems like nothing more than the usual melodramatic issue book, desperately trying to manipulate my emotions with the subtlety of a million flying bricks. There's suicide, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse crammed into the first few chapters. Is that not enough angst for you? Well, wait a few more chapters and we get drugs, incest, fights and first sexual experiences, told through the eyes of a guy who sounds about eight but is actually a teenager.

I didn't feel sad or moved or anything so, like I said, maybe this is a character flaw on my part. But I'm tired of reading books where I can feel the author's little voice screaming between the lines "Cry! Look people are dying and it is so sad, cry! Look incest and prejudice and rape, cry!"

I felt nothing. Except maybe manipulated; yeah, I definitely felt manipulated.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
December 2, 2011
There may be a book in the world that can address, just within very few pages, suicide, molestation, domestic abuse, homosexuality, drug use, mental issues, first sexual experiences, rape, abortion, etc., and not sound like a Lifetime movie, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not an example of that.

For me, the straw that broke the camel's back was when I realized that, to add to all of the above mentioned melodrama, the narrator was either emotionally or mentally handicapped. It appeared, Charlie's inability to identify any emotion within himself besides sadness, his constant crying, his lack of knowledge (at the age of 15) what masturbation was, his failure to understand any social situation (like a rape while witnessing it in his teen years) was indicative of either some form of autism or just severe mental immaturity. This, I thought then, was too exploitative. At that point, only a victim of cancer (or AIDS) was missing from this already uber-dire, emotionally manipulative narrative.

But, as it turned out, I was very wrong. Charlie was, evidently, just a shy, socially awkward, AP-classes attending, extremely gifted and observant student with a dark secret. At least, that how he was described by other people. What?! What does it say about Stephen Chbosky's writing abilities if his supposedly intelligent teen narrator sounds like a 7-year old? If Charlie's writing was reflective of his speech and interactions, how in the world could he become friends with a crowd of cool older kids and even had girlfriends, all of whom thought him petty much the best thing since sliced bread?

I can attribute the popularity of this novel only to the story's great variety of tear-jerking opportunities, teachable moments and life lessons, gently delivered by the ever-so-wise and deep narrator. This isn't even controversial enough to deserve all those bannings.

2 stars for moments of interest of the train-wreck kind.
Profile Image for Karolina.
83 reviews427 followers
February 26, 2013
February 25, 2013

Dear Charlie,

I am writing to you because I feel like you're the only one that would listen to me right now. From all the friends that I have made you are the one that's the most understanding. I guess what I'm trying to do is thank you for being there for me these last couple of days. I didn't expect to learn from you as much as I have. My mom always says that you can never really understand a person until you walk in their shoes, but I guess getting to know you and reading your story did just that. I have to say you have stripped me from any prejudice I might have had. And I am truly sorry if I had any. You showed me that no matter what happens, what we experience, we always have a right to feel the way we feel, just because. You showed me the purity of feelings, beauty of thoughts, generosity of love and warmth of friendship. You made me appreciate books and poetry more, and see the impact they have on people's lives. For that you will always hold a special place in my heart. I'd like to think that you get better, I hope one day you can be honest with people you love, be who you really are and do what you want to do. Most importantly I hope that you will love the real Sam and not just the idea of her and be ready for her to love you back. I hope we can see each other some day, I'll make sure to come back and remind myself of everything that is you, tho I hope to never forget.

Love always
Profile Image for Rachel.
19 reviews49 followers
December 4, 2007
As much as people say it, this really is one of my favorite books of all time. MTV promoted it, it got a lot of press, so many people shun it and say it is overrated. I disagree.

I didn't read this book until last year, when I turned 21. My boyfriend owned it, it seemed like a quick read, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Main character Charlie is loveable from the first sentence out of his mouth. There are endless quoteable quotes in this book that had me folding the page over so I could write them down later. Charlie has an honest innocence to him yet such an intense depth and intelligent mind that he is quite the multifaceted character.

While the story has its ups and downs, and really, there isn't a very intense plot, the reader is somehow sucked into Charlies head sharing his first kiss, his feelings toward his new friends, his feelings towards literature and music. He is naiive about so many things, and his bluntness made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. He not only deals with issues like love, but also having a gay friend, dealing with death, and sexual assault, but also sharing his love of music and literature, which I think are two things that are being lost on youth today.

I would give this book to every teenage boy and girl I knew. While Charlie isn't exactly a excellent role model, he does show that being different is O.K. and that friends come in all kinds of packages...to stay true to yourself. These things matter.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
July 16, 2014
THIS BOOK ALWAYS BRINGS ME SO MANY FEELS. 3rd time re-reading it and I still feel infinite.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
September 1, 2016
I don't even think I can truly convey how much I loved this book other than to say it was entirely life changing and I'm so upset it took me this long to read it.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020
All I have to say to the author is...REALLY? Are you effing kidding me right now??

Charlie is a freshman, a loner and an odd duck, all wrapped up in one stunningly awkward package.

How awkward? Cripplingly so.
I am very interested and fascinated how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other.
He's always been a bit....out there...but his family knows how to handle his moods and step around his antics.
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.
Only, he's now in high school, and the things he would get away with in middle school aren't exactly going to fly now that he's in the big leagues, and he's having difficulties adjusting.

Luckily, he met Sam and and a few other friends...and with them, things are finally looking up.



Sooooooooooooooo.......here's my problems with this novel - it ticks too many boxes, The Charlie Cringe and I honestly thought the novel was going a completely different direction.

This book ticks too many boxes - aka is there anything NOT covered in here?

It feels like the author googled "Most traumatizing teen issues" and then, looking at the list of twenty-or-so of them, says, "F*ck it. I'll throw them all in."

I mean, really.

Does anyone expect to adequately cover suicide, mental illness, alcohol, drugs, sexual orientation, first-time-sex, incest, abuse, rape, and more in a single 200ish page novel?

That's right, you can't.

But you can sure as hell definitely cram all of those buzzwords into one book and throw in a few fancy-sounding quotes, like this:
We accept the love we think we deserve.
and this:
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
And boom. Instant classic.

The audience is shuffled from one BIG issue to the next BIG thing without any development.

That's what frustrated me so much - we have these huge, hard-hitting issues...and nothing is dealt with.

The Charlie Cringe - aka holy sh*t that's a lot of crinnnnge.

And Charlie, while he is cute and adorable, his whole character just didn't feel authentic to me - the dialogue, the actions, the issues.

And I'm speaking from the perspective of a wallflower - I was a quiet kid but I was NO where near Charlie-level crinnnge.

Okay. You may be wondering, what level of cringe are we talking about?

He's blessed by the two coolest kids in the school taking him under their wing and made him their best friend.

Personally, I find that the odds that these two popular senior kids adopting the cripplingly awkward freshman to be astronomical...but hey, it's fiction.

Anyway, Charlie feels like he can say anything on his mind to these seniors. And what does he tell them?


And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING.

For example, he confesses a sex dream about one of them to their face because he felt guilty. And they find it charming.

Just. What the what?

Is this really supposed to be high school?

I'm just like...I may have been a wallflower, but thank GOD I wasn't this bad of a wallflower.

I honestly thought the novel was going a completely different direction - aka am I the only one?

Charlie supposed to be this super smart kid, with reading comprehension off the charts (based on the English essays he writes).

...but his monologue sounds like an eight-year-old with a bucket of sugar and a microphone.

How can you write essay after essay on great and notable works of English that absolutely boggle the mind of your teacher...and when you pen a letter, you sound like this:
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning
or like this:
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. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud.
Honestly, for the first 2/3 I thought he was slow or autistic and this is one of those books where everyone knows but the kid (and he finds out in some hugely traumatizing way).

I mean, the signs were all there.

He has emotional episodes, monologues like he's half his age and just seems so spaced out all the time.

At one point, he watches a drunk girl get raped (forced to give a blow job to a much more sober guy).

And by watches - he's in the same room, silently staring from a corner - doesn't intervene or do anything other than watch. AND he only realizes she got raped weeks later.

How is this kid classified only as a wallflower?

I really, truly thought we were going to find out that the popular kids were only nice to him because he was "special" - honestly, am I the only one who had these thoughts? Am I just going completely left-field on this book?


Ah well, I don't know, maybe it's just me but I'm really (really) grateful there isn't a sequel.

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Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.1k followers
December 18, 2019
I originally rated this two stars? Now I give it 5 stars?
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
432 reviews4,234 followers
August 12, 2023
Hi All My Introverted Friends!!!!

Charlie is a freshman in high school where he meets Sam and Patrick. With the help of Sam, Patrick, and his trusty English lit teacher, Charlie tries to navigate the awkward teenage years.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower is told in a collection of letters with Charlie writing to Dear Friend, someone that he has never met before but heard was a really great listener.

The listening part really got to me because I have realized that most people don’t really listen. When someone sends me a letter, I read it over at least three times. I want to make sure that I’m not reading anything into it, not hearing what I want to hear. I want to understand what the other person is saying and not saying. It seems that nowadays people are really distracted with pings, dings, and notifications.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower started off strongly, and it made me laugh several times. Plus, it mentioned Walden, my second favorite book, quite a few times. Always bonus points for mentioning Walden.

However, this is a coming-of-age story, and this trope has been done a lot of times. The competition is fierce. The ending was unexpected and didn’t seem to fit in with the coming-of-age theme. “Cry” was mentioned 104 times! And this book isn’t even that long….

As an introvert (according to an online quiz 97% introvert), I was disappointed with Charlie. Some well-intentioned person decided to coach him on some of his social skills. However, why didn’t Charlie just come out and embrace his awkwardness? Why didn’t Charlie just say, “Hey, I am always going to come up with an excuse not to go on the Team dinners”? Not everyone is going to be the life of the party, and why can’t society stop trying to turn introverts into extroverts? We aren’t extroverts-in-training! There is nothing wrong with valuing a deep relationship with one or two people rather than spending our time enduring vapid conversations with a bunch of random strangers that we probably won’t ever see again.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for DC.
257 reviews89 followers
June 30, 2012
June 30, 2012

Dear Charlie,

First of all, thank you for sending me your poignant letters. I'm honored you think of me as a person that didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though I could have. I'm ecstatic you decided to allow me to read your thoughts. I'm glad you proved to be such a great letter-writer/story-teller. I am really quite happy about this.

It was nice receiving letters from you, even though they're dated long ago. I know that I got them for only a couple of months (in a span of one year), but it felt like you've been talking to me since you were very young. (Remember that memory you called the first one you ever remembered?) I sometimes felt like the things you were pouring out in your letters were a little too personal, but you let me into your head, into your heart, into your soul.

With only your words, I saw you "participate", I saw you have friends, I saw you fall in love, I saw you grow. I may not have ever seen you or the persons you know personally, but I could almost taste your fries from that fastfood chain, I could almost hear Mary Elizabeth's chatter, I could almost see Patrick's smile, I could almost feel the winter cold of your world there. Your friends and family were as real to me as if I saw them every single day of my life.

Now... While I was glad you were very honest in your letters, I have to admit that your highs and lows were brutal and enlightening to me, as they were to you. Your first kiss (remember her tears?), your first "girlfriend" (e.e. cummings will always remind me of her), your first experiments with different substances (I was a little appalled, a little sad, a little curiously happy for you), your first drive (oh, the silly sophomores), your first mix tape (thank you very much for introducing me to a number of memorable songs!), your first time watching the last episode of M*A*S*H (I promise to keep that incident secret, too). You had your issues, but you seemed more interested in those of others. I felt more than a little sad when you were being too nice to some people... But boy was I rather depressed when you had to be all alone! I wish I could've always been there, instead of reading of your exploits on a date after you've had them.

I'll sincerely cherish your words, your thoughts, your ideas. Thank you very much for the pop culture references - you surely made me add more books and more songs and more "films" to my to-check-out list!

I'm a little sad that I haven't gotten any more letters from you after that last one, but I understand. I'm sure you're doing well, and rest assured: I'll always be here to hear you out when you need it.

Thank you for being so wonderfully Charlie-esque. Thank you for letting me feel infinite.

Love always,
Your friend
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
August 29, 2018
nothing makes me feel more nostalgic than this book.

this book is long summer nights, spent with those we so carefully let in, not caring about what the next year of school would bring. just those evenings where our only companions were the stars. because in those moments, i swear we were infinite.

thats what this book is. those moments that truly define who we are and what happiness to means to us. this book is our teenage years filled with friendship, and angst, and heartbreak, and future planning, and everything in between.

this book is the yearning for the past, whilst also looking forward to the days to come.

my heart will always belong to the memories of this book.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,265 reviews2,438 followers
February 23, 2023
Stephen Chbosky tells us the story of an introvert, Charlie, through this novel.

Charlie might be awkward at social events but is a brilliant innocent person with excellent thinking capacity.

Nobody can blame you if you feel deja vu when you read his letters. It is that much relatable to our lives. The author beautifully depicts how he explores everything in his life for the first time through the friendship of Patrick and Sam. The author realistically portrays the difficulties and curiosities of a young adult's life.

What I learned from this book
1) How can we take charge of our life during difficult circumstances?
We can never fully safeguard our life from negative experiences. We inevitably have to go through some negative experiences in our life. But we can control how we react to it. If we are able to react judiciously, our life will never go off track during trying circumstances.
"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot 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."

2) What is the greatest gift you can give your loved ones?
Presence is the biggest present that you can give your loved ones. When there is a person to just sit near you and make you feel they are with you no matter whatever happens in your life and willing to hear you patiently, you should consider yourself the luckiest person.
“We didn't talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough."

3) Why do people want to be in a relationship when they are single and want to be single when they are in a relationship?
I think the best state a human being can achieve in their life is to be attached to an individual in a relationship and feel free and independent at the same time. In simpler terms, we should have a relationship without compromising the identities and individuality of both individuals. It is a complex state that only true soulmates can achieve.

When the relationship is not in an ideal state, as I mentioned above, singles might feel life boring due to the lack of attachment, and couples will find life boring due to the loss of individuality.
"If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don't want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me."

My favourite three lines from this book
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody."

“I would die for you. But I won't live for you.”

"I just want you to know that you're very special… and the only reason I'm telling you is that I don't know if anyone else ever has."

What could have been better?
There are a lot of trigger warnings in this book, like sexual abuse, domestic abuse, incest, and drug abuse. Some readers might find it difficult to read these parts of this book.

4/5 This is one of the best coming-of-age books I have read. If you liked the book Catcher in the rye, you should definitely try this book.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
August 14, 2021
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Charlie, the 15-year-old protagonist, begins writing letters about his own life to an unknown recipient addressed, "dear friend." In these letters he discusses his first year at high school and his struggles with two traumatic experiences: the suicide of his only middle-school friend, Michael Dobson, and the death of his favorite aunt, Helen.

His caring English teacher, who encourages Charlie to call him Bill, notices Charlie's passion for reading and writing, and acts as a mentor by assigning him extracurricular books and reports. Although he is a wallflower, Charlie is befriended by two seniors: Patrick and Sam.

Patrick is secretly dating Brad, a football player, and Sam is Patrick's stepsister. Charlie quickly develops a consuming crush on Sam and subsequently admits this to her. It is revealed that Sam was sexually abused as a child, and she kisses Charlie to ensure that his first kiss is from someone who truly loves him.

Similar to his own experience, Charlie witnesses his sister's boyfriend hit her across the face, but she forbids him from telling their parents. He eventually mentions the occurrence to Bill, who tells Charlie's parents about it.

Charlie's relationship with his sister rapidly deteriorates and she continues to see her boyfriend against her parents' wishes. Eventually, he discovers that his sister is pregnant and agrees to bring her to an abortion clinic without telling anyone. His sister breaks up with her boyfriend, after which her relationship with Charlie begins to improve significantly. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «شاه بوف بودن»؛ «مزایای سر به زیر بودن»؛ «مزایای گوشه گیر بودن»؛ «مزایای خجالتی بودن»؛ نویسنده: استیون (استیفن - استفان) چبوسکی (چباسکی)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه دسامبر سال 2016میلادی

عنوان: شاه بوف بودن؛ نویسنده: استیون (استیفن - استفان) چبوسکی (چباسکی)؛ مترجم: کاوان بشیری؛ تهران، میلکان، 1394، در 250ص، شابک 9786007845370؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی سده 21م

عنوان: مزایای سر به زیر بودن؛ نویسنده: استفان چباسکی؛ مترجم: محمدرضا قاسمی؛ تهران، آذرباد، 1395، در 240ص، شابک 9786008537069؛

عنوان فیلم: مزایای گوشه گیر بودن؛ نویسنده و کارگردان: ��ستیفن چبوسکی؛ تهیه‌ کننده: راسل اسمیت؛ جان مالکوویچ؛ براساس رمان: مزایای خجالتی بودن؛ بازیگران: لوگان لرمان؛ اما واتسون؛ ازرا میلر؛ نینا دوبرو؛ پل راد؛ موسیقی: مایکل بروک؛ فیلم‌برداری: اندرو دان؛ تدوین: ماری جو مارکی؛ تاریخ‌های انتشار: روز 21، ماه سپتامبر سال 2012میلادی؛ مدت زمان: 103دقیقه؛ کشور: ایالات متحده آمریکا؛ زبان: انگلیسی؛ هزینهٔ فیلم: 13میلیون دلار؛ فروش گیشه: 33میلیون و 348هزار و 127دلار

چارلی نوجوانی گوشه گیر، و منزوی است، که به تازگی وارد دبیرستان شده؛ «چارلی» هیچ دوستی ندارد، و اوقات فراغتش را، با نوشتن نامه به دوست خیالی خویش پر میکند؛ آشنایی او با «پاتریک» و خواهرش «سم»، دریچه ای برای ورود به زندگی تازه است، اما علیرغم همه ی اینها چیزی «چارلی» را آزار میدهد؛ او مدام تصاویری از گذشته ی تاریک خود میبیند، و طولی نمی‌کشد، که حقیقتی ترسناک برایش برملا میشود

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 16/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 22/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Megan.
206 reviews89 followers
December 4, 2013
*UPDATE:* I went and saw the movie today and it was a very good movie. Stephen Chbosky directed the movie and it was very true to the book, I would say almost exact. So if you liked the book I would definitely recommend going to see the movie, you will enjoy it!

I have been struggling with how to rate this book since I finished it. I loved this book but then at the same time it was just okay. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am finally secure with who I am… but in high school that wasn’t true. If I would have read this book in high school I think I would be absolutely in love with it because of the fact, that probably, like most of us at one point in our teens, I felt like an outsider like Charlie. Without my closest friends around me I was a definite “wallflower,” the insecure, quite, nerd who would rather blend in then be seen.

As I’m thinking about it now I think that is what was hard about this book for me at points it reminded me of who I was in middle school and the beginning of high school and that is a person I would much rather leave in the past. Sam and Patrick were the friends that pulled Charlie off the wall just as my friends did. I could relate to a lot of what Charlie felt, which I think a lot of us can. I didn’t do drugs or drink in high school but I’m sure we all had friends who did or even just know the feelings that led him too.

“ We accept the love we think we deserve,”

When I first started the book and after the suicide of Michael and the death of his aunt being carefully tiptoed around I initially thought the book was going to be mainly about suicide. In a way I guess it was but not as much as I thought. These are the parts that really spoke to me and I connected to having seen the effects of depression and suicide. After reading about the mixed tape Charlie makes I went and downloaded all the songs and I love the song Asleep by the Smiths. I wish I had heard this song when I was dealing with everything in high school. I am glad that Stephen Chbosky introduced me to this song and the poem Charlie reads to his friends:

“That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen”

The Pros of this book: The letter writing was a unique format that felt very open and sincere. (Even though I still want to know who he was writing to and what that person thought as they received the letters.) The events in the book seemed real as if they happened in my own high school. The characters were fantastic even if I felt Charlie was being whinny at points, but hey it’s a letter that’s probably how it would sound.

The Cons: Okay the main thing that really bothered me in this book was the essays he was writing for extra work. His teacher claims that he is becoming a better writer each time. The problem I have with that is wouldn’t his letter writing get better as well? I know it isn’t in a formal setting but I expected his writing overall to get better which it didn’t. I don’t know if it is just me but the writing in the book seemed below a freshman level but that could have to do with the fact that I think that Charlie suffered from some sort of autism.

Overall I’m going to give this book a solid 4 stars. The book was quite relatable but I didn’t expect the twist at the end even though it did make the rest of the book make more sense. I know have a playlist on my iPod labeled as “Charlie’s Playlist” and I’m in love with the song Asleep.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

This was a powerful line that really spoke to me. I never thought as moments as “infinite” but it really is true. Those moments when you are truly happy or even on the flip side when the world is crashing down they seem infinite. I love this line. Some may hate it and think it cheesy but sometimes life needs to be cheesy and it needs to be infinite.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,880 followers
February 15, 2021
The book be like - CRY, BITCH.

After 50 pages I would have written that The Perks of Being a Wallflower was poorly written, boring and tasteless.

After 100 pages I would have clapped because really, wow, Stephen Chbosky really did want to tick all the strong issues boxes, haha. /sarcasm.

After 150 pages I would have needed a drink to handle all that fucking CRYING and talking and the total LACK of any attempt to actually DEAL with the issues piling up. No, three pages of so-called teenage philosophy isn't enough.

In the end I'm just pissed off by the plain MANIPULATION that is this book and by the way the last issue is taken care of - FUCK YOU, BOOK. No, really. Fuck you. I am very sorry for all the people on Earth who loved this book, and know that this review isn't about you. I started The Perks of Being a Wallflower expecting to love it.

As it is, I cannot.

Probably because it contains what I hate the most in Literature, this being :

- The blatant use of manufactured drama trying to force me to feel things. It doesn't work like that. You do NOT involve a reader by creating an unrealistic overkill of serious issues, as if they were trying to outbid each other. There's a moment when I just don't care anymore. This is manipulative and disrespectful.

It reads like a catalogue of the worst situations possible.

- The fact that the sub-mentioned issues aren't given the time of a day and are just there. Nope. And because I know that people will tell me that it's realistic because Charlie is only 15, and that he can't analyze these issues in depth : yes, he cannot. THAT IS THE POINT. Why include so many issues - teen pregnancy, drinking, drugs, sexual identity, abuse, and so on - if they're only there to fill the book? WHY? I am the first to admit that we mustn't take teenagers for fools and that YA novels should picture these issues. But COME. ON. What is even the point if they're only brushed off? Is telling them that it happens to other people is going to make them feel better? Is telling them that we can ignore problems because everything is going to get better anyway (because fairies, I guess) A GOOD THING? I don't think so. And yes, when something like abuse is dealt in TWO pages, I do get the feeling that the book is telling me to move the fuck on.

Also, that "beautiful" sentence, "we accept the love we think we deserve"? When applied to the situation? Please don't.*

* I am not thick, of course I understand what this sentence is trying to say... But again, empty words. I would have probably loved it as a 14 years old. Now I'm just like, AND THEN WHAT?

- Repetitive and choppy sentences all the way through, with a main character who can't decide if he's 10 or 40 or, I don't know, 5. I HATED the writing, I really did.

- Characters who don't feel like teenagers at all - mainly Sam and Patrick, the super hipsters philosophers *snorts*

The book be like - NOW SMILE, BITCH.

► I wish I would have read another Gary D. Schmidt novel instead. Overrated.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,304 reviews44k followers
January 19, 2023
Here is my Flashback Saturday book choice: I have to tell you the truth my friends: I’m not rereading this book. I always have second thoughts about ultra popular YA novels ( I haven’t forgotten my worst experience with Fault in our stars. Yes, I’m one of the haters of the book and double haters of the movie!)

So as a precaution I preferred to watch its movie when it was released a few years ago( safe choice and I didn’t need to worry about the adaptation part because the author was also screenwriter and director of the movie!) And yes, the author has one of the most brilliant minds to choose the best ensemble cast ( Logan-Emma and Ezra were magnificent! ) And watching vampire Paul Rudd( the man never ages) as literature teacher Mr. Anderson tripled my enjoyment.

Now I decided to read the book but of course this will be a little limited experience for me because when I start my reading I always visualize my own cast decisions and match with the characters but the author already gave me the best acting list thanks to his outstanding movie.

This is kind of you hate it deeply or you love it wholeheartedly novel.

Firstly you have to be open minded about the term of being wallflower. It is not easy to keep your head above the water and not to be drawn when you decide to swim at high school ocean.

Being wallflower could be a decision: if you are already introvert and suffered from a tragic past, the best way to survive against the sharks is being unnoticeable, ghost, shadow! So it’s easy to connect with Charlie and respect his decision, being witnessed his remarkable change when he is befriended by Sam and Patrick.

It’s a heart wrenching but also realistic story about friendship, mental health, abuse, self discovery, standing for yourself and your loved ones.

Not a five star read for me but it’s still meaningful, thought provoking, heartfelt story that I mostly enjoyed.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
2 reviews
January 3, 2008
This book is beautiful. It is a classic teenager read. I have probably read this book a million times and it never gets old. I love how honest and deep Charlie is. He will get you thinking about the good things and what really matters in life. I am inspired whenever I read this book and I hope you can get as much out of it as I do each and every time.
This is was my book report for school. Hope it helps!

“We are who we are for a lot 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 wherever we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” (pg.211) Every word spoken by Charlie has touched my heart. I love how honest and deep Charlie is. He will get you thinking about the good things and what really matters in life. I am inspired whenever I read this book.
Written by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower would have to be one of the most insightful young adult novels I have read. It’s a collection of letters written by a boy who calls himself Charlie. He writes “to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. (He) need(s) to know that these people exist.” (pg.2)
This books talks about drugs, sex, sexuality, literature, films, music, and daily adolescent life. The main character, Charlie, a freshman in the early 1990’s, is just beginning high school like all of us. Following his meeting with Sam and Patrick, two seniors who become his best friends, Charlie begins to experience more of life. He was always more of the shy understanding type who would “use thought to not participate in life.” (pg.24)
"The world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends, the world of sex, drugs and the rocky horror picture show, when all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite…" (Back cover) When I read certain books, or certain lines I can get the chills. Not just “oh that I was so good I got the chills” but the true hair raising shiver with a small sweep of coldness, chills. That line does it for me. “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." (pg.39) If these lines have no affect on you, I do not recommend reading this book. It’s for the thinkers as well as the participators. It’s for the ones who enjoy simplicity and want to widen and better their point of view. Don’t take me wrong though, everyone should read it, but at their own time.
This book has inspired me to try and do so much more. Charlie did and achieved so much in just his freshman year alone. I want to live a life like him. One that I can look back and be proud of, one that I can tell my kids about, of walking home from school and spending the best times with my friends. To you, right now in this classroom it may seem little and petty, but to Charlie and I, this is real. After reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I assure you that Charlie will be with you forever.
Profile Image for Kenny.
507 reviews937 followers
September 25, 2022
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower ~~ Stephen Chbosky


Passivity vs. Passion …

Yes Charlie ~~ I know all too well what it’s like.

Charlie is an outsider ~~ a typical wallflower. He gets bullied at school and prefers taking the forty minute walk home instead of the school bus. Written in the form of letters from Charlie to an anonymous recipient, it is a compelling read. Don't let its simplicity fool you, as this book has much depth. Readers learn that Charlie has many secrets that have been entrusted to him; one in particular has caused him to become a quiet person without a voice, letting people do what they want to him. These things upset Charlie, but he internalizes them. Sam, the girl he desires from a distance, encourages Charlie to form his own opinions, speak his mind, and to show passion about his desires.


Charlie himself is a mystery. He has mental problems, gets angry, sees things and then passes out and cries. Right before he started high school his best friend shot himself, but there is also another, worse reason for his problems. At school Charlie meets Patrick and Sam, both of whom are outsiders too, just cooler ones. Patrick is gay and before his stepsister Sam introduced him to "good" music, he was a popular kid. They introduce Charlie to all kinds of new things. Parties, drugs, Rocky Horror, Billie Holliday and rock music become new parts of Charlie's life. For the first time in his life, Patrick knows what it really means to have good friends.

Charlie's immediate family is loving and supportive. Charlie's friend Patrick is gay and in a relationship that is accepted in their social circle. Homophobia is present, however--a boy is beaten by his father for being gay after he’s caught being intimate with Patrick, and Patrick is in turn beaten by his boyfriend and the football jocks at school.

Aren’t we all too familiar with the set-up where the loser turns out to be the really cool, popular guy? Well, all this is true too for The Perks of Being a Wallflower but just wait and you will find so much more. This book is going to catch and surprise you every time you turn a page.

In a series of letters written by Charlie and sent to an anonymous person we learn about his life, his new friends, his family and especially Charlie himself. He writes about school and his English teacher, Bill, who gives Charlie extra books to read. Charlie then writes essays about them. He would like to become a writer someday.

What makes this book so special and authentic is its reality. As an adult it takes you back to when you were a teenager, as a child it shows you what lies ahead and as a teenager it inspires you. And as we all know there is no other time when finding out who you are and where you belong to is more immediate than when you are a teenager.

Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
August 23, 2015
So, why does no one really mention that Charlie seems to be a high functioning autistic? I mean, there's a difference between shy or wallflower, and autistic. The way he doesn't understand social norms, his thought process, his actions (and inactions in certain situations), even the awkward ways he expresses his feelings. They all point to someone who sees the world differently than the rest of us.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm totally misreading what Chbosky was trying to portray. Or maybe Chbosky didn't even realize what he was portraying.
See, I love a mildly autistic kid. I love him a whole hellava lot.
This book touched me in my soft spot.
Honestly? I'm not really sure I can give it an unprejudiced review.


Hmmm. Well, the reviews are quite divided between my friends. And even though I loved it, I can see why some of them didn't.
Charlie's friends?
Sam & Patrick were 20somthing hipsters that do not exist in high school. No, not even seniors who've been through things are that deep, that mature, or that introspective. I'm sorry, but it doesn't happen. You may believe you or your friends were that way. But I challenge anyone who thinks that, to go back and read some of their shitty poetry or obnoxiously angsty diary entries. You thought you were waaay more mature than you really were.
I swear.
However, it does express how some people remember themselves.
So, there's that.


Some people also have a problem with all of the underage drinking, drug use, and sex.
Ehhh. Ok, I get why they don't like it, but it happens.
I did all of that when I was in high school.
Although, once again, I wasn't quite as cool or mature about it as these guys. Anyway, if you want to pretend that nobody gets drunk til they turn 21, or gets laid till they turn 18?
More power to you.
However, it's not only unrealistic, but it has been unrealistic for manymany years. And teenagers (while not suave) aren't stupid. If you want to align yourself with the bury-your-head-in-the-sand groups, then I can almost guarantee they'll think you're stupid, too.
So, good luck getting them to take your advice seriously!


Ok, last but not least, there's quite a few complaints about how many issues these kids have to deal with. Rape, molestation, suicide, gay bashing, bullying, the list goes on.
Well, let me think...
No one I knew killed themselves.


I guess I'm biased, but I loved this book. And I loved Charlie.
I just hope my Charlie has the courage to participate in life the way this one did.


Minus the LSD!
Because, really, that shit can be pretty fucking awful.
Profile Image for Allie.
99 reviews46 followers
February 25, 2013
Drugs, abuse, child molestation, anything that would make people cry & be traumatizing for a teenager, it's all here in overdose, injected wherever possible into every character's life. How can the author be such a douche.

I felt emotionally manipulated by this inconsistently written, I'm-trying-to-be-deep-and-real-and-strike-emotional-chords crying fest.

So I Hulk-smashed it into the recycling bin.

Profile Image for Meredith.
169 reviews9 followers
June 6, 2008
Resounding accuracy of the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood, goodreads? Um yeah, maybe if all kids teetering on the brink of adulthood made you question if they were autistic and spent the majority of their free time reading the classics and going to therapy. Don't get me wrong. This book is good. You want to find out what the deal is with the main character for the entire book and at the end, you eventually get a pretty damn good idea. But for the love, this is not the Catcher in the Rye for the 90s. And it's just unrealistic. You find out at the end why he is so weird, but the catch-22 about this book for me is that a kid with his kind of emotional issues probably never would have been able to experience the kind of social interaction he experiences and writes about throughout the book.

Bottom line, kids are mean, especially in HS, and they would have been mean to this kid if he was as odd as he portrays himself to be in the "letters" he writes. In the book, the big denouement is catalyzed when he finally makes out with a girl he's had a crush on the whole book. In real life, that girl never would have even spoken to him, let alone gotten to the point of making out with him.

Finally, there is a whole hippie vibe to this book that reminded me of a Wonder Years episode. You'd have no idea that it was supposed to take place in the early 90s if the diary entries hadn't been dated. The lack of relevant cultural references really bothered me.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,452 reviews2,401 followers
August 24, 2023
***this book hurt me the worst when it ended because of the realisation about Charlie and because it ended.

"I gave Sam To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, Walden, and The Fountainhead."

If I were Sam, I would have fallen in love with you, Charlie, right there!

I don't think this will ever happen in my life having someone giving me all their favourite books on a special day (while there's no doubt about me gifting all my favourite books even to my enemies anyday) I wanted to be Sam so much because Charlie was giving her all his favourite books 💝 the young love made immortal 💓

I saw Sam as Emma Watson during the whole time because of that stupid movie adaptation ☺️ But yes, Hermione Granger - Emma Watson Sam is fine. Will always work. I guess.

*As much as I love this book, I really cannot stand the movie adaptation. It makes me frustrated. Just like that. I tried watching the movie twice but ended up getting frustrated everytime. So no. The book is the best for me.

****no review can explain why this book is so precious***

Find all the negative things you would want to hate about this book, I can tell you many.

But those things make me love this book so much!

It's like my whole being is brimming with emotions that my head stops thinking when I try to think about Charlie and the various other characters and how Charlie sees things.

This book is so different from when I read it for the first time. I remember the friendship stories yet what touched me the most during that read was the way how Charlie read books and interpreted things; about how he had an understanding adult around.

But this time, my heart is filled with wholesomeness after rereading the book after a gap of more than 2 years.

I can understand the characters better. Not just Charlie but also Sam, Patrick, Mary Elizabeth, Peter (though his part is almost blink and gone kind), Brad, Bill, even the gone aunt, the sister and thr brother, the parents as well.

*Review below was written after I read the book for the first time in 2018:

✨One of the best character driven story
✨One of the best Young Adult fiction ever
✨This one talks about books and reading (actually only this would have sufficed to make it into the best reading list!)
✨The adults especially one significant adult has a main role in shaping the main character
✨Pangs of young love
✨Subtleness in the LGBTQ representation
✨Unapologetic writing and plot
Profile Image for selin.
11 reviews30 followers
September 13, 2023
this is one of the most beautiful books i’ve ever read. not my favourite or best one, just beautiful. it is so simple but the writing, characters and quotes are just so incredible 🥹

i don’t know if i can explain it logically but there was just this feeling i get while reading this book and it was just like charlie’s quote; “we were infinite.” it’s like that thing you get while visiting your childhood house, going to a beach at sunset, looking at your best friend or just listening to a song that helped you get through a certain part in your life.

and charlie.. he is the most ‘this is me trying character’ i’ve ever read, he is trying to ‘participate’ in life by creating connections with people, but he is too timid about.. well, just life.

i’m trying to write a review that explains my thoughts but i can’t because i felt so much things and i don’t even know how to name them, i just can say that it was some kind of a ethereal experience. just look at this quotes:

”I would die for you. But I won't live for you.”

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

“He's a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”

“Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.”

“And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.”

“Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse.”

“I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”

“I can't think again. Not ever again. I don't know if you've ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that.”

“Everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other.”

“You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love.”

i don’t know, it just feels like whole book is trying to say i love you and i understand you, it’s so fascinating that 200 pages can hold this much emotions. this review is such a mess just like me after finishing it 😭

a side note; i was all over her by salvia path is literally song version of this book 🫂
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
September 8, 2011
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A. Free live sex shows but you are not allowed to tell anyone. B. Free LSD mixed in a brownie. C. Free to make out with girls who take fancy on you because you seem to be harmless. D. Free books because you are autistic hence you can finish a challenging book to read like Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” in 12 days and your English teacher wants to challenge you by giving you more and more books to read. E. All of the above. F. None of the above.

I read this novel twice. The first time I read it, I was annoyed from first page to page 213 and I had no doubt that this book deserved a rating of 1: I did not like it! However, when I went through the existing ratings of my friends, most of the younger ones rated this with either a 5 or 4 and most of the older ones, either 2 or 3. I read their reviews and most of the older ones said something like “the teenagers seem to like this book.” while the younger ones said something like “I see myself in the Charlie’s character when I was his age.” So, I said maybe I should read this again, imagining that I was a 15-y/o man and see if I can relate to Charlie.

That did the trick for me.

Nope. When I was 15, I did not do drugs because I was still in the island as a 4th year high school student and I was sure there were no drugs in that small town. If there were, I am sure people would first prioritize buying food on the table rather than spend the money on drugs. Since we also did not have maids at home, I was busy with household chores: washing my family’s clothes every Saturday, ironing our school uniforms every Sunday, washing the dishes every evening (my older sister was in charge of cooking while my oldest brother was in charge of fetching water and the older one for washing dishes every noontime). Nor did I have sex because I was a virgin till I was on my last year in college. Nor did I have friends who made out in front of me because: A. I did not have exhibitionist friends. B. People in the island were conservative on those days so they frowned on homosexuals. I was sure they did their business in complete privacy so nothing like that came out during my time. In fact, during those years, there were only a couple of grownup men who I remember being referred to all so silently as homosexuals. But now, you go there and the homosexuals are all openly roaming the streets at daytime. C. I was a year younger than my classmates-friends and I swear I was clueless at the time they were already talking about finding their underwear wet in front when they woke up one morning or when their hair started to appear down there.

In other words, I was not able to relate to Charlie but I still liked this book. Reasons:

A. I dawned on me during my re-read that Charlie is actually addressing those letters to his readers, including me and he is a pure soul. Notice that despite all the sad things that happened to him during his first year in high school and even in the past, he did not bear grudges on anyone. He still see things positively and even wishes good life at all. This is in complete opposite to Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye who is full of teenage angst he calls all grownups “phony”. [BTW, Chbosky in Wiki says that this novel is one of his inspirations in writing “Wallflower”. In fact, this is one of the books, Bill asks Charlie to read.]

B. This reminded me of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of a Dog at the Night-Time because of its take on autism. Charlie is an autistic child who gets straight A’s in all his subjects and can finish and appreciate 12 adult modern fiction books most of which have “heavy” themes: To Kill a Mockingbird, This Side of Paradise, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, A Separate Peace, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, Naked Lunch, Walden, Hamlet, The Stranger and The Fountainhead just during his first year in high school. This is intriguing considering that Charlie’s style in writing barely changed from his first letter to the last so the learning or insights that he got from the books did not influence him in anyway. He is like a medical case in autism that whatever went inside his head while reading or the events that happened in his life during that year, 1991-1992 did not affect in anyway his outlook in life. He was a pure good soul through and through.

C. Chbosky’s way of mimicking the sentence construction and grammar of a 15-y/o autistic boy plus the fact that the book is thin and slim encourages the reader to take this lightly, a book that one can breeze through and just say “the teenagers seem to like this book.” Wrong. Once you close the book, you will feel that there is something in the story that you missed and you will have that impulse to read through again. Chbosky hides his message on the simple and harmless looking letters, Charlie’s innocence and the unsaid words and untold stories, e.g., What is the significance of his favorite song Asleep by The Smiths in the story? (See the lyrics of the song at the end of this review). What happened to his aunt when she was a young girl? Why did Charlie’s father slap him? What happened to Charlie in the last letter? Did Patrick “Nothing” love Charlie? Why did not Chbosky give names to Charlie’s brother and sister? [In the soon-to-be-shown, movie adaptation, there seems to be no football-player older brother but his older sister has a name: Candance.] So, with these questions in mind, I went back to the first page and re-read almost every page except the ones that I found straightforward. I will not tell you my answers to those as that would be too much of spoilers.

Overall, a very intriguing read. This is the first novel of Peter Chbosky (born 1970), an American novelist, screenwriter and film director. He wrote the screenplay of 2005 film Rent and he was co-creator of 2006 CBS television series, Jericho. So, he and this work, his first, should, in my opinion, not be taken lightly. That’s my only advice to those who are still to read this book.
ASLEEP by The Smiths
Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I'm tired and I
I want to go to bed

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don't try to wake me in the morning
'Cause I will be gone
Don't feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I don't want to wake up
On my own anymore

Sing to me
Sing to me
I don't want to wake up
On my own anymore

Don't feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I really want to go

There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well ...

Profile Image for mwana .
381 reviews287 followers
April 30, 2022
I want to be mad that I never read this before. But there's something indescribable and magical about experiencing a book for the first time. I can only be grateful that I finally got to read it.

Perks follows the story of Charlie, who is the most lovable character I have read since Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe- which coincidentally, is one of my favourite books.

He has the best teacher ever since Miss Honey. Bill notices something special in Charlie.

"Do you always think this much Charlie?"
"Is that bad?" I just wanted someone to tell me the truth.
"Not necessarily. It's just that sometimes people use thought to not participate in life."
"Is that bad?"

Charlie of course doesn't read the writing on the wall until his fast talking friend, Patrick tells it to him straight.

"He's a wallflower." And Bob really nodded his head. And the whole room nodded their head. And I started to feel nervous in the Bob way, but Patrick didn't let me get too nervous. He sat down next to me. "You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand."

And that my friends, is the main perk of being a wallflower. Charlie's entire existence is just so pure. And it makes you want to hug him. I loved how he loved Sam, his other bff and love interest. In his letter about Sam, he tries to describe her photo to Dear Friend.

If you listen to the song "Asleep", and you think about those pretty weather days that make you remember things, and you think about the prettiest eyes you've known, and you cry and the person holds you back then I think you will see the photograph.

The entire novel is in epistolary format. Written in Charlie's nearly childlike way of speaking. I loved it because it felt like he was writing to me and it reminded me that he was still just 15. The saddest thing about this book is Charlie finally confronting his demons, put there by someone he trusted not to hurt him. But still he overcomes. Charlie has more fortitude in his pinky than I do in my entire body. I have learnt so much from him. And in as much as I wish I had met him when I was 15 too, I'm still glad I could meet him when I was old enough to have a lot more insight from his story.

I wish a lot of things. I wish I had friends like Sam and Patrick. I wish I had a teacher like Bill. I wish I had Charlie's way of staying quiet and understanding the world around him. I wish I had money. I wish many things but most of all I wish I could know what it's like to be infinite.
Profile Image for Mario.
Author 1 book193 followers
May 19, 2016
I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.

Damn, this book was amazing. And it's not one of those books where you figure out how amazing it is at the beginning, or even through the first half. It slowly creeps up on you. Or at least is slowly crept up on me. And the more I read, the more I loved it. And now that I've read it, I can safely say that this book definitely will go on a list of my favorite books ever. And another thing I should mention is that I've been avoiding this book for a while. One of the reasons was because I thought it was over-hyped (silly me). But then, finally, we had to read this book for University, and I'm so glad that the professor choose this book. It was the first book which I had to read, that I absolutely loved. And I haven't seen the movie, so I didn't know anything about the plot. And I'm glad that that was the case.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower is a coming-of-age story. But it is also so much more than that. It is a story about a boy named Charlie who just started high school. Because he felt alone and scared, he started writing letters to... well to whoever is reading this book. At the beginning, I didn't quite like Charlie as a character. He cried way too much, and was a bit weird. But as the book went, I started liking him more and more. I also stared understanding him, and actually relating to him. Also, I liked most of the other characters (some more, some less). Yeah, they all had some flaws, and they all did some things which I sometimes didn't understand why, but we all act like that sometimes. One more thing that I absolutely loved was the friendship between Charlie, Sam and Patrick. I really wish I had a friendship like they did, in my own high school. It would certainly made things easier. I also loved that this book felt so nostalgic. Even though I finished high school not that long ago, it still brought me back to days when I just started school. And I loved that it did. So many times I've read a quote that described perfectly how I felt back then (or sometimes even now), which I couldn't find words to describe. But Charlie described it perfectly.

Now, I should probably stop here and end this review, before I get too emotional. So in conclusion, I loved this book, and I can't say how much I'm glad that I've finally read it. And I'm sure that I'll re-read it many times in the future.
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