The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Review

Stephen Chbosky delivers a unique, captivating, and heartfelt story that everyone should read.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, originally published in 1999, follows a boy named Charlie through his freshman year of high school. Charlie writes a series of letters to a stranger, starting the night before his first day of high school, and these letters are what make up the novel. The book encompasses a series of common young adult themes such as substance abuse, mental health, and sexuality in a unique way that stands out from a typical young adult novel.  


One of the things that makes this story so unique is the way in which it is told. Through first person narration with Charlie’s letters, we as readers get to witness his own self-reflection. It is almost as if Charlie is communicating directly with the reader, as if his letters are addressed to you. This writing style allows the reader to make a personal connection with the characters. 


Another thing that makes this book so amazing is how relatable and influential Charlie is as a character. Charlie isn’t exactly a perfect role model, engaging in underage drinking and other typical rebellious teen activities, but he is a perfect example to show that it’s okay to not be okay. Throughout his story it is clear he is struggling with grief and childhood trauma yet, through his relationships with his friends we get to witness his personal growth. Everything about Charlie is inspiring and every word that he writes in those letters will get you thinking about what really matters in life. 


“My favorite character would definitely be Charlie because his character went through a lot and still seemed to make the best of everyday and tried to make everyone happy,” said Kylee Davidson (‘23) 


Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book: 


“We accept the love we think we deserve.” This is by far the most popular quote from the book as it is featured and is emphasized in both the novel and the movie adaptation. Said by Charlie’s English teacher, Mr. Anderson, it is not only advice that Charlie really needed to hear at the time but a line that gets everybody thinking.  


“Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.” Going along with the theme of living in the moment, this quote is one of my all-time favorites. Although basic and simple, it’s true and a good quote to live by.  


“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. And we could all sit around and wonder and feel bad about each other and blame a lot of people for what they did or didn’t do or what they didn’t know. I don’t know. I guess there could always be someone to blame. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it’s okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite.” This one needs no explanation, as said earlier every word Charlie writes will get you thinking about what really matters in life.  


I feel confident enough to say The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I would recommend it to any teen/young adult that’s looking for a good read, and if you don’t like reading, watch the movie– unlike most book to movie adaptations this one is surprisingly good! 


“I would recommend this book because it changed my view on life a lot, and the movie did too and it was just so much fun to experience that. I would rate it a 9/10 because it’s confusing at some parts and it’s really sad. But, you still have that emotional connection with the book so that shows its good,” said Davidson