Wednesday, July 2, 2014

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

yes, I finally did it. I finally have read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. After two years of meaning to and always forgetting, I have finally done it.

And honestly, it's a very good thing that I waited until now to read this book.


This is not a book for the faint of heart. Drugs, sex, angst, suicide, alcohol...it's got all of these things. You follow Charlie through his journey as a kid heading towards adulthood too quickly, and your heart hurts as you watch it happen. I didn't physically cry when I read this book, but if there is such as thing as mentally and emotionally sobbing buckets, that's what I was doing. There were even a few times where Charlie would be ruminating on something and it resonated with me to the point that I had to put the book away and blink hard for a few moments. This is a terrible, sad, messed up book. And it's also a beautiful, broken, messed up book. I don't know how it rides the balance between the two, but it does it with graceful tact.



There's something eerily familiar about this book--not like it's happened to you before, but like you're one of the people involved. It feels like Charlie is writing to you, pouring out his hurting and lost heart to you. You watch him grow up, a spectator. There's nothing you can do about it, but you're clearly involved. So you listen. For Charlie's sake.

One powerful characteristic piece to this book is how old it is. Written in 1999, The Perks of Being A Wallflower has been around for 15 years. It's not a huge book, but it's one that is still relevant and powerful almost two decades later. You don't find books like that every dynasty, to quote this semi-famous Chinese guy.


I would not let my sister (who is the same age as Charlie at the beginning of the book) read this. I would not go up to my friends and say: "This is the most amazing book I have ever read it made me think so hard you need to read this NOW" like I do with other books that have affected me like this. To me, this is a book that you need to decide to read on your own, to pick off the shelves and say, "I think I'm ready to fully experience this." I know that if I had read this when I first heard about it, I wouldn't have understood it at all. All I would have pulled away from the story were the terrible and bad things that happened, not the elements beneath them.


The snippet on the back of the book doesn't do it justice, honestly. "The perks of being a wallflower is a story about what it's like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school, the world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends, of sex, drugs, and the rocky horror picture show, of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up."
No.

Yes, this book is all those things.

But it's so so SO much more.

That blurb of emotionless words marks this book down to a bunch of events, a handful of meaningless happenstance. But the body and soul of this story is made of the feeling, the growth, the thought.

Like, I said, I don't recommend this book to you unless you think you can handle it. Unless you want to delve into this broken and sad book. Unless you think you're ready. Because if you are, you're setting off on an adventure that could change the way you think.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks, this is a helpful review!

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  2. I love this review. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. I tried to read it once, but had to put it down just a few chapters in. I've been debating on picking it back up. But you're right, it's one of those books you really have to just be ready for.

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    1. definitely!! What you said about picking it up and not finishing reminded me of what happened when I read TFioS for the first time...either the subject of cancer was too near and dear to my heart, or something about it just rubbed me wrong, or I just wasn't matured enough to take it all in like I was supposed to, but I couldn't finish it. Coming back and reading it as an older individual really helped me experience the book properly. Sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do, in regards to certain books. :)

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  3. This is a perfect review. Wow. I couldn't have said it any better. I adored this book. I could relate to Charlie so much. I loved this book because it was honest. It was "yes, teenagers drink, have sex, and are in abusive relationships sometimes." it doesnt glorify them; but it acknowledges that those things happen. it also shows the hurt of those things. there are so many great quotes from that book. Honestly it makes my heart fill with emotion. I've read the book twice and both times it affected me greatly. it made me change the way I thought and it inspired me.
    I just love that book so much.
    I'm glad you liked it. And thank you for the review! It was perfect!

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    1. ^^you just summed up how I feel about this book. It was so hard justifying why I was reading such a VERY secular book, filled with things that most Christians would have issues with, but what you said is the truth. These things happen. We can't shove them under our beds and ignore them, because then it's almost like we're ignoring the suffering of those who go through them.

      And yes--so many AMAZING quotes.

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