Thursday, August 30, 2018

Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way 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 perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. 
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.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Comment: I bought this book back in June because I found it with a good discount at a book fair. 
I had heard of the author and this specific work but I never paid much attention. Since the book was being sold with a good discount, I decided to give it a try anyway. 

This is the story of Charlie Scorsoni, a shy 15 year old starting his freshman year but not certain he is going to succeed since he isn't very social. Charlie has many thoughts and the story begins with his tale of how he misses his friend Michael, who committed suicide. 
Charlie makes friends with some sophomores and his life seems to go a certain way, with many experiences thrown his way. However, Charlie also needs to let go of some things he can't really process and what surrounds him has a huge impact on his decision making and choices...

I've said many times here - those who have tried to follow my comments know this - that YA is probably at the bottom of my list of preferences when it comes to books. Probably there along with horror and non-fiction and so on...
However, I must also say that my issues with YA are mostly due to the romantic content so many times authors try to include in the stories and I just can't accept the concept of "love ever after" as we are so often tried to be influenced on thinking if we have 14-18 year old protagonists.

I'm very happy to say the goal of this book and its content are far from romance and this ended up being a very good surprise on the YA front and made me only validate my opinion that there's always a positive somewhere, even where we don't expect and why I haven't just abandoned the genre completely. (I'm just tired of going through so many negatives in the process)

This is a story told by Charlie in epistolary format. He is writing to a "dear friend", who we never get to know whom and where is but Charlie shares a lot of what is going on with that person. As expected, the reader gets to learn a lot about Charlie, his feelings and those around him by the way he writes. I liked Charlie and I liked what he was facing and I liked how important all characters were at some stage of his life, even if the story only spans a year of his life.

I must say one of the best elements here was how he thought about things and why his personality shone in some of the experiences he went though. I could commiserate with the "wallflower" status since I consider myself to have been one as well. I can understand why reading YA novels makes you remember your own past but sometimes that is not as fun anyway. In this book I liked seeing what was happening to Charlie, why he thought a certain way and why some things mattered to him. I was also a teenager int he 90s (more towards the end of the decade though) and that was fun because many things, songs, stuff mentioned are things I remember too.

There's an obvious hidden message here, a secret Charlie doesn't voice until the end but that if one fits the puzzle pieces, it does make sense sooner than that. Should I say I think the author has a good technique in trying to convey a situation and how dramatic it can by using simplicity and a innocent delivery? He managed that quite well. He also did a great job portraying sadness and hopelessness and characters acted on those quite well. It was interesting to see this happening by just letting the reader have a glimpse here and there about whatever subject was on discussion.

Overall, this was a simple but great story. It was not perfect and some things were left too much to the imagination  - closure is needed, I'd say - but it was a great time spent with the characters ans wanting to see them being smart and useful among the usual doubts and such. I don't know if I'd read it over and over but it was certainly a good one for the moment.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment