By this point in the game, it is no secret that I love to read and I love to write. In my spare time (that is dwindling by the day…), I try to squeak in time to dive into a book or write for a while. Sometimes it happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. (Take for example, the fact that I have been reading The Help since New Year’s Eve!!)
Ever since I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower back in December, I have been meaning to review it, but I never got around to it.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was originally published in the late ’90s, but was recently re-popularized with the release of the 2012 film, starring the lovely Emma Watson (aka: Hermione). On a random side note, I absolutely hate it when books are re-released with new covers featuring photographs from the movie adaptation of the book. They almost always look cheap and it just drives me batty!
I received the book for Christmas and quickly dove into it. Interestingly, this was not the first time that I started this book. In one of those strange, flashbulb-type memories, I distinctly remember one of my “new high school friends” handing me this book and insisting that I read it right away. She told me that it was her favorite book and that I wouldn’t be able to put it down. That was in ninth grade.
Evidently, I was NOT quite ready for the “scandal” of this book and was quickly turned off from it at the first mention of alcohol. I returned it to her 99% unread and that was that.
This time around, however, was different. Granted, apparently I am still quite a prude as I was still turned off by the references to drugs and sex and alcohol, but I also picked up on so much more. I also managed to make it past page two. 😉
So the general premise of this book revolves around a teenage boy, “Charlie,” who has always been very reserved. As he stands on the sidelines and watches life happening around him, he is constantly taking everything in. He notices everything and has some very insightful thoughts. He is a wallflower, but maybe that’s not always a bad thing. As his first ear of high school year, Charlie meets some new friends. They push him to try new things, to take risks, and to step into the action of life and be a participant instead of just an observer. Through all of that, Charlie makes some pretty bad decisions, he does some stupid things and ends up finding himself in some terrible places, but throughout all of that, what really stood out to me, was the consistency of Charlie’s insightfulness.
Even for someone who had an incredibly nondescript high school experience that included absolutely zero behavior that was even remotely questionable, I could still identify with many of the revelations that were presented throughout Charlie’s letters.
I was impressed by the narrator’s consistency in his recounting of events and also in his reason and insight. Even throughout the times where his actions led the reader to believe that his narrative may not be entirely reliable, those revelatory moments were still very meaningful.
Overall, I think this was a very worth-while read. I can absolutely understand why this book has stuck on the radar for so many years and why it is still considered a kind of classic “coming-of-age” story. I can even understand why that new “friend” so many years ago desperately attempted to have me read it.
At times, some of the “shock factor” additions (again that’s back to the drugs/ alcohol/ scandal) may seem a bit gratuitous, but in a way, I think that is why this book sat so much better with me now than it did when I was younger, because I was able to look past that outward wildness and foolishness and see what the book was really about: growing up, understanding your place in not only social circles, but in the world in general and learning how to handle changes and challenges. While the narrator may have taken some unhealthy means to cope with those universal concepts, they’re pretty applicable to everyone and watching the very bizarre way that his life throughout the course of the novel unfolded was a pretty interesting journey!
Well that is all for tonight, folks! I hope to have a review of The Help for you soon. I don’t know WHAT is taking me so long to finish that goshdarn book!
I’ll see you all tomorrow…hopefully with a story about how I conquered 200 miles on the treadmill only after tackling the World’s Most Difficult Strength Training Routine. But for some reason, I kind of doubt it…
Hope you had a great night!