Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Surprised at how fast I finished it? I was quite surprised myself. I don't know if it's the adrenaline of wanting to finish my 2012 reading challenge, or this book felt just like a breeze.... but nevertheless, I am now writing another book post. And now, it features The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky //  Source
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. via Goodreads
Well for a start, I must say that I am a big fan of YA. I love it, and I don't think I am anywhere near in outgrowing it. But I honestly think that Perks did not sit well with me. I like the book, but compared to other YA books that I've read, it placed in the latter part of my list. 'Coming-of-age' is one interesting thing to read about, but I think I've seen better. That is not to say that this is not a good book. Well in fact, it is -- but I think it's a just a matter of perspective.

Seeing as I've read books like Hold Still and Norwegian Wood (NW sits on the darker side of the spectrum, but the book kept popping in my mind while reading Perks), I've grown accustomed to depression as a theme. Though many speculates that Charlie is suffering from autism, all the time that I was reading it, all I kept saying was "this is one depressed kid". I know that there is something wrong with him, but though most of it is attributed to his experiences as a child, sometimes I seriously get the feeling that it is self inflicted. (Does that even make sense?). He tends to think too fast, which left him confused most of the time. And that makes him panic. I always remember NW in those episodes... where being confused is treated as a place of darkness. And I think that it is one serious symptom of depression.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Catcher in the Rye // Source
As I was searching through the net, I stumbled upon articles which claims that Perks is the next The Catcher in the Rye, or better yet, Perks is the Catcher of the 90's kind of thing. Well I cannot deny the similarities. I admit that Catcher also popped in my mind while reading it, and has been mentioned as one of the books that Charlie has read. And then again, both were included in the 'banned books' list. Themes about teenage angst and sexuality are considerably present in the book. There is also this teacher-figure which guided them both. 

I think most of my friends would not agree with me but I was reading through  most of the book thinking that, somehow, Catcher is better than Perks. Because while Holden is oh-trying-to-be-mature-but-fails, Charlie, on the other hand, is too innocent. I think I was about 2/3 or more in the book when I realized that everything is going somewhere which I haven't felt when I read Catcher. Holden is pure teenage angst, but Charlie managed to be mature at the end of the book. I was really caught off guard by the revelation in the last part of the book. It left me feeling weird, that's why when I finished the book, I was kinda feeling dazed. I even checked the internet if I just read and interpreted it wrong. It really left a mark on me. And that's what's important.

Despite of these, this book has a considerable number of good points still. I think one of its strengths is its presentation. The story all throughout the book was presented in letter-form - Charlie addresses it to a friend, which is supposed to be the readers. It provides for a more accessible format, and is easy to read. Charlie's innocence lets him become too observant and insightful that made the whole story poignant and alive. And most importantly, the book has an ample amount of lines/quotes that would surely be remembered, one is the famous line "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." that you surely have already heard especially with the recent hype from its movie version released earlier. It definitely had its share of highlight marks from me. I am excited to watch the movie though. XD

Still, I would highly recommend this -- especially to YA fans, this is definitely a staple read. Preferably for teenagers, but is still applicable to everyone who wants to live out the happiness and pain brought about by growing up. So, what are you waiting for? Read on! :)

Quotable Quotes:
"Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve." ~ Bill 
"I feel infinite." ~ Charlie 
""It was the kind of kiss that made me know that I was never so happy my whole life." ~ Charlie 
"But because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody." ~ Charlie 
"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. and we can try to feel okay about them." ~ Charlie *This is my absolute favorite. :)

This has been part of my 2012 Reading Challenge, and is the 14th book that I've read this year. :)


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  2. I was considering reading this but hadn't made a concrete decision yet - you just solidified it. I'll head to the library tomorrow. Great in depth review! - Raspy Wit

    1. wow..thanks for that. :) i'm glad i helped. and thanks for following and commenting. :))


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