First Sentence: Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.
The first thing I was taught in my freshmen English class was that if a book doesn’t have a real summary anywhere you look – in the back of the book, in the flaps, on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – that it’s a book with absolutely no plot. And that’s what The Perks of Being A Wallflower is, a book with no plot like The Catcher in the Rye.
I’ll admit, the only reason why I even read The Perks of Being A Wallflower is because the movie came out and I wanted to watch it, but first, I wanted to read the book. Now I’m not even sure if I should give up $7 just to watch a movie whose book angered, annoyed, and bored the hell out of me so much. I wanted to abandon the book halfway, but a huge amount of people on goodreads said that the book gets really good at the last hundred pages, so I read on. The book didn’t get any better.
I can’t find any other nice way to put this, so I’ll be blunt: Charlie is a freak. Nothing about him made any sense. When the book started, written in letter format (since Charlie is writing to a mysterious someone about his life), I can immediately tell that Charlie isn’t normal. He is a 15 year old boy who doesn’t know what masturbating is (and I don’t even want to think about how much he does it after he learns what it is, described in full detail), what bullying is (he wonders why a guy picks on him and why people do that at 15. It’s a miracle that no one bullied him until he was 15 since it’s obvious how much of a -ahem- freak -ahem- he is), watches someone get raped (which doesn’t make any sense. Who would barge into a room, tell a stranger to ignore them, rape someone in front of the stranger and leave that stranger standing there as a witness. What is the author thinking?!), and how society works. I quickly came up the conclusion that he had a type of mental problem. However, in the end, it is revealed that Charlie doesn’t have any mental problems at all, instead, he’s terrorized by his past. When I found that out, I was like what? Someone please explain to me why Charlie acts the way he does if he doesn’t have any mental problems.
To make matters worse, Charlie’s friends, Patrick and Sam like Charlie and cheer for him because according to them, “He’s something, isn’t he…He’s a wallflower.” (page 37) Um, excuse me? A wallflower, according to dictionary.com is a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance. Charlie is definitely not a wallflower. Charlie is definitely not shy, he just doesn’t know the way around society. I don’t get why Charlie’s english teacher, Bill, praises Charlie and states that Charlie is smart and so special. Charlie is definitely not smart.
And what’s with the ending? When Sam went all philosophical on Charlie, I was wondering what is going on here? Why is she suddenly saying all these philosophical things to him? It did not seem like Sam’s character at all.
And last, but not least, the whole letter thing is ugh. We find out at the last or second to last letter (I’m too lazy to look through the book that nearly put me to sleep) that Charlie doesn’t know the person he’s writing too. He was just being a creeper and overhearing someone else’s conversation on how the person he’s writing to is so nice and open and understanding, so he decides to write the letters about his life to that person. There is a major flaw in this, it being why would a group of people recite their friend’s address outloud in front of everyone? Does that even make sense? I know if my friends ever did that, I would smack them, shake them, and yell “do you know how many creepers are out there? I made my point.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower includes sex, rape, drugs, gay kissing, making out, getting high, pregnancy, and abortion. That leads me to think that the author, Stephen Chbosky, put every available teenage experience stereotype in his book just so teenagers would read it. However, that also shows he doesn’t know teenagers at all. Not everyone does drugs, makes out with the same sex, and get pregnant at the same time because we’re teenagers and we’re oh so stupid. No. That’s not the way it goes. If you want to read a better written book about all those topics, read Ellen Hopkins’ books. Now hers is amazing.
I badly wanted to give The Perks of Being A Wallflower two stars, but I just couldn’t. Too much of the book didn’t make any sense to me. Even The Catcher in the Rye, the only school required book we have to read that I absolutely loathed wasn’t as bad as The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I even think that giving it a one star rating is being way too kind, but that’s just me.