*This review may contain spoilers, read at your own risk*
Quick Synopsis: 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 mix 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.
Around this time back in 2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower was released in cinemas in the UK; And at the time, silly little me didn’t appreciate how remarkable it truly was. After re-watching quite a while after, I bought the book and I wish I had picked it up sooner.
Where do I begin? For one, I have never read a book that is written entirely in diary entries, at first glance I was a tad apprehensive with the difference in structure from my usual reads. However, this structure turned out to be quite a refreshing variation from the norm, plus, whenever a massive gap occurred between entries it was a subtle way of alerting you to when something important happened. Additionally, the dates were a helpful indication of upcoming events, such as, the Christmas holidays, where you could conjure up predictions on what you thought was to come.
The storyline held the possibility of being plain and tedious, yet it wasn’t; the narrative perspective draws you into Charlie’s life, following his friend’s individual stories and revealing their pasts; Through a restricted narrative, the reader only finds out information after Charlie does, this creates a connection between you and the central character. In addition, this first person, past tense, narrative allows the reader to witness how Charlie processes events after he has had chance to reflect upon them, this narrative style is a wonderful way of seeing a character’s true personality. Furthermore, this connection is reinforced by how effortless Charlie is to relate to, as he is introverted, an avid reader and an observer of the world. Him and I share a few traits, and this little connection was enough to make me love him as a character.
Aside from Charlie, another character I enjoyed was Patrick, aka Nothing. Along with bringing his comedic spark into Charlie’s world, Patrick also hosts his own problems, thus allowing the author to explore complicated issues within the novel, such as, sexuality in the early 90s. Although I want to believe that the majority of the novel was light and fluffy, it wasn’t; whether the issue was obvious or subtle, there is a constant presence of seriousness within the topics presented.
Overall, this book made me cry, smile, laugh and cry some more. It’s comical, creative and all the characters are truly complicated. I read this within 1 day, which I completely regret as I wish I could re-read it for the first time all over again. I rated this a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, and will add it to one of the top 10 books I have ever had the pleasure of reading in my life so far.
Thank you for reading this review. I absolutely love writing such positive reviews, as it always brings a smile to my face when reviewing outstanding books; I wish more people would read masterpieces like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? And if not, what are you waiting for!