Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Alex Wilson, Reporter

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the most beautifully crafted coming-of-age story that features amazingly dynamic characters, a relatable and fast-paced storyline, and a hint of mystery as well. I absolutely loved this book.

   When I read a book, I am very picky about how characters are written because I come across so many stories where the characters are just too unrealistic. However, Chbosky did an incredible job creating characters that are so real, so relatable, and so easy to love. None of the characters really reflect any typical archetype that we see so often in books and TV shows, like the social reject main character or the nerdy best friend. We see some characters fall into those sports jock or overachieving-smart-friend stereotypes, but they are such dynamic and fully-developed characters that it isn’t overdone like it is in so many other novels. I once heard someone say that you know a book is good when you finish it and it feels like you’ve lost a friend; that’s exactly how this story felt.

   The structure of the book is thanks to such well-rounded characters; the story is told through a series of letters sent by the main character to an unknown person. As the readers, we are given such good insight into the characters because the story is directly retold through Charlie, the main character. It is even more interesting because we are not ever provided with any real names—the story begins with Charlie saying that he will not reveal anyone’s name because he does not want the receiver to find out who he is. For some, not truly knowing the characters or who the letters are being sent to may ruin the story a bit, but for me it just added to the fun. I personally don’t think it matters that we don’t know who he’s writing to, because it just seems like he’s writing to the reader.

   I also loved the implied mental health struggles that permeated the storyline. There are brief mentions of psychiatrist appointments and the doctor’s “strange” questions, and clear evidence of Charlie’s lack of understanding of social cues. It is difficult to come by stories that do not glorify mental illness, and it is even harder to find those that are written well. Chbosky did an excellent job of never sugarcoating the ramifications of traumatic events, and writing a character so exquisitely socially awkward and unconventional.

   This book is definitely a ten out of ten, and I loved everything about it. It was just as amazing my second read through as it was the first time, and I anticipate saying the same for a third, and probably even a fourth time. It’s that good.