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Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I might as well start by admitting that my literary choices do not always match those of the rest of the world.

I really REALLY loved Twilight. The WHOLE series. I have never read any books as many times as I have read those.

But it is not because they are great works of art. It is because I find them entertaining and enjoyable. I like to read about hot vampires and werewolves. I especially liked how Stephenie Meyer’s writing style reminded me of reading something my best friend would have written.

And I KNOW that you are groaning. But, sorry to say, millions of people around the world agree with me. The money don’t lie.

Everyone always talks about The Perks of Being a Wallflower as if it is some super-great book that I must read. So I did.

PERKS-cover

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

WTF?

I read the last page, closed it, and said, “That book sucked.”

I am sure many will disagree with me. Maybe part of it was that it was from the viewpoint of a teenage boy, rather than a girl. But I had trouble getting past the writing style. It was written as a series of letters to an unknown friend. Sooo many things wrong with this. The letter-writing thing just felt hoaky and unnecessary. I felt as though the author was writing badly on purpose so that I would truly believe that Charlie wrote the letters himself. Except that I just found it distracting. And the so-called friend? It isn’t even anyone that he knows. And, at the end of the book, you STILL do not ever find out who he sends the letters to.

I did like that although it was recently made into a movie (I have not seen it), the book was actually published back in 1999, and actually takes place in 1991-1992 when Charlie was a freshmen in high school. I was a freshmen then, or close to it. That means the author must be my age. But Charlie did not listen to any of the same music or see any of the same movies of that time that would have helped me relate to his character.

I kept wondering if this kid was supposed to be Autistic? Then I wondered if he just was. There was even a bad child molestation and physical abuse subplot. I guess maybe that was supposed to be the plot? Or explain why the kid was weird? If it was supposed to, I missed it.

The best part of the book was when they stood in the back of a pick-up truck while driving through a tunnel. Incidentally, that was the best part of the movie trailer as well.

I never did figure out what the perks of being a wall flower were supposed to be. I could probably be considered “a wallflower”. There are no perks.

I bought this book specifically to study what other YA writers are writing about and how they are doing it. I thought I might be able to use this book to help me think of the heroine in my first book differently. But I just came out of it thinking, “If this book became a hit, maybe mine isn’t as bad as I think it is. Maybe it could be a hit too.”

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