Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Teenagerdom is hard; Chbosky presents an an especially afflicted guy’s epistolary-style accounting of it.
I think this kid faces every after-school-special topic possible within the space of one year.
Other than the amalgamation of every â€œvery special episodeâ€ in Charlieâ€™s experience, Chboskyâ€™s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those books that feels important to have read.
The events presented in this book do happen to people, just maybe not so crammed together. I swear, it’s like each week brings on a new pivotal event.
I hate to say this, but I think I like the movie juuuuust a touch better (bracing self for the potential onslaught of anger). Favoring the movie over the book almost never happens, and I can understand anyone who disagrees.
The leads in the movie show the uncertainty, exhilaration, and heartbreak of being on the verge of adulthood. So does the book, but with the movie, I feel it more palpably. Iâ€™m a little conflicted on how I feel about the bookâ€™s Sam in particular. But Emma Watsonâ€™s Sam in the movie is mesmerizing.
Thereâ€™s been a lot of speculation about Charlie’s mental state. Sometimes people play it almost like a game of “Name That Malady!!”
I’m certain the kid has something, but I think Chbosky leaves it purposefully vague so itâ€™s not the focus of the book. This isnâ€™t akin to The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime, which peers at the world through a boy’s autistic lens.
Rather, I believe The Perks of being a Wallflower is a boyâ€™s multi-hued view of teenagerdom, colored by a variety of factors, including life experiences, friends, family history, literary exploration, and mental state.
Charlie’s identity is not based solely on his diagnosis, nor should his story be.