Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky

High school sucks, and so does middle school, and so does intermediate, and so does just about any form of environment in which you are bound to be labeled by your peers. If you have a good label, then your path toward the general education degree will be a fine one. If you don't, it's going to be some of the toughest years of your life (or at least that is what you will believe at that time). I went to a private school since the fourth grade, so I don't know the experience, but I think I could have been a wallflower like Charlie. A wallflower is somebody who is a bystander: they watch something go on, serve as a witness to an incident, and then console the victim. Being a wallflower has its positives and negatives and this is just about how this novel flows.

Charlie is a high school freshman who submits letters to this unknown person who he simply refers to as "friend." Since he mentions just about every figure that is in his life and ties loose ends to people who for some reason disappeared from his life. These letters are what describe the many events that occur in his life, ranging from issues with school, issues with family, how he has this close relationship with his English teacher and how the teacher gives him plenty of novels to read, and most of all, his relationships with girls... and guys. Two key people that stick out are seniors at his high school named Patrick (who is referred to as "Nothing" by the other students) and Sam, who are brother and sister. Patrick turns out being gay, as his sister attracts Charlie. The two of them share meaningful moments, but Charlie also seeks the attraction of Mary Elizabeth, who actually engages in a relationship with him. Charlie even goes out with Patrick on an occasion, but whether or not you can declare that one of the key scenes is Charlie being a nice guy or Charlie liking-LIKING Patrick. Charlie does mention a boat load about him into the story and in a kind of way that crosses the bridge of being platonic.

Charlie seeks many of issues with his family, his sister's struggles with an abusive boyfriend, his group of friends being seniors and how he makes them feel on some instances. It is simply the game of life for Charlie and how he approaches it. It goes to show you how it's highly difficult to remain a wallflower in a consistent fashion. There are some instances in which you have to eventually pick a side or take action, which are things Charlie eventually has to do.

There are plenty of ways you can approach Charlie. You can approach him as a manic spaz or you can approach him as a high school student who deserves your pity for how he is making it through high school like a trooper. He does cross the bridge of overreaction, but it's obvious to feel the way that he does. Since the story is told completely through letters, the way that Charlie writes them is the way he writes them. Flowers For Algernon consisted of diary submissions and on many occasions featured plenty of misspellings, and that novel was fantastic. So there is absolutely no issue with grammar. We get a clear sense as to what Charlie is thinking and the story of what he is going through.

"Perks" will likely be labeled as a romantic drama when it comes out in theaters on September 21st. It will garner recognition from now until then, so ultimately it will become a huge seller in bookstores. I would recommend it to the degree that it is something that you can relate to. Charlie is a complicated individual, but then again, aren't we all???

Verdict: 8/10

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