The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Published 1999 by MTV Books
213 pages. Paperback
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult


The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been at the top of my favorites list for years. I read it as a junior in high school and I fell totally in love with it. I’ve been awaiting the movie since I first heard about it years ago. This book is so special and personal to me that I’ve never even attempted putting my thoughts down, but I think it’s time to try.

Charlie is a complicated character to me in that I will always love him, but I am often frustrated with him. It’s sometimes really easy for me to relate to him and sometimes really difficult for me to relate to him. He’s introspective, which I get. He’s also completely clueless sometimes, which is something I don’t get. My relation to Charlie as a teenager was more about how Charlie thinks than his experiences. There were a lot of things he did that I didn’t try until years later, and there were some things that Charlie didn’t do or understand that I had already experienced. What drew me to him then and makes me continue to love him now are those moments when I felt completely connected to him. When I was a teenager I just connected and soaked it all in. This time around I enjoyed watching Charlie grow. I wish I could say more about the other characters in the book, but what is there to say? They’re all amazing and real, but Charlie definitely speaks to me the most.

This is definitely a character-focused story. It mostly deals with Charlie’s coming-of-age, but there are also some plot points that make you stop and think or turn things in another direction. The ending is the part that always slays me. It hits really close to home. I cried like a baby the first time I read it. It’s funny because I remember being so angry at Charlie’s attitude about the whole thing at the end. This time around, having dealt with my feelings about my own experience, I understood that a lot better. It’s funny how things can be read differently when we’re in different places in our lives.

I had to glance over my review questions to get my thoughts flowing for this review and one stood out to me. “Has this novel changed me?” This book has probably changed me and shaped who I am more than any book I’ve ever read. I know that sounds a little trite, but it’s true. I think there are things I would never have dealt with in my own life had I not read about Charlie dealing with them. I cannot wait to see this movie next weekend.


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  1. I had a copy of this book and I was so excited to read it this week, but then when I went to look for it I cannot find it ANYWHERE!!

    I so want to see the film, but I must read the book first so it would be amazing to win a copy.

  2. I’ve only read the Hunger Games and Twilight series so far so I’ll have to go with New Moon. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one though! Thanks for the giveaway! New follower!

    Mandee @ Compelled By Words (.com)

  3. It’s hard to choose one favorite banned book… maybe Speak, or To Kill a Mockingbird. I have a lot of favorites! The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on my list for quite a while. I will read it before the end of the year!

  4. “This book has probably changed me and shaped who I am more than any book I’ve ever read. I know that sounds a little trite, but it’s true.”

    Yes. It’s the same for me. And I’m so happy with how the movie turned out. I started crying near the end (my body literally shaking, trying to hold back) and my partner broke down in tears on our drive home. It’s just that kind of a story – it makes us feel.

  5. I can’t pick just one favorite – Harry Potter, Hunger Games, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck Finn,etc. When I read the lists I see lots of books that I love.

  6. I listened to this one on audio and now I want to own the book so bad!!!! It was an excellent listen and I can see why it remains on a favorites list!

    Thank you so much for being a part of Banned Book Week!

    1. Ooh. I’ve never tried the audio before. I love audiobooks so I’ll have to try that sometime. I’m just afraid that at this point it wouldn’t sound like Charlie to me.

  7. As a recent reader of this book, I completely agree–this book really affected me. Charlie didn’t frustrate me because I assumed that there was something behind why he couldn’t connect with people in some ways. I think the end explains why. The ending broke my heart too, but I think there are people like Charlie who are just kind souls who are easy to forgive. It’s difficult to comprehend, but it endeared him to me. I can’t wait to see this movie either. It comes out Wednesday here!

    1. I’ve definitely had a different experience with Charlie this time around. Even in any of those moments that I feel frustrated with him I still love him.

  8. Thanks for the information and review of “Wallflower.” I’ve been reading a lot about the upcoming film and that has gotten me very excited about the book. Plus, I’m from the Pittsburgh area, so I may be familiar with some of the locations!

    1. PS My favorite banned book is “Heather Has Two Mommies” because I have met and spoken to the author on numerous occasions and understand what a landmark book it indeed was and remains!

  9. I *just* read this book for the very first time this past week! I can’t believe that I went so many years without picking it up. What a waste of time! I fell in love with it and I will definitely be re-reading it. Often 🙂

    1. It’s a great book isn’t it? I’ve never given it a thorough reread until this year, but I think I should make it a yearly thing.

  10. I love the Harry Potter series, of course and another favorite that seems to get challenged often is To Kill A Mockingbird.

  11. I read this book a few years ago and I fell in love with Charlie and his friends. I adored these characters and I was so excited when I heard about the movie. Sadly, it’s not showing in my country so I have wait a little longer to see it. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my favourite banned books along with the Harry Potter series. 🙂

  12. My favorites are by Judy Blume :
    . Blubber
    . Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret

    I loved her books and I remember the more risqué ones, Forever and Wifey being passed around when I was in grade school.

    I’ve seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower around the blogosphere a lot this week and enjoyed your review.

    Your comment about things being read differently depending upon what point we are in life is apt.

  13. I loved The Giver by Lois Lowry and the Hunger Games trilogy! Thanks for this amazing giveaway – I would love to win!