Book Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

I haven’t posted in so long, I almost forgot I had followers. But no matter. I am reading, to be sure.


“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, by Stephen Chbosky, is the story of a freshman in high school. Charlie, in the midst of family problems, crushes, and other beginning high school problems, makes friends that love him. Any kid should have that. The story is basically a journal, dealing with a lot of love sagas–sex, drugs, drama, practically anything you could imagine in a freshman boy’s journal. The main conflict revolves arounds Charlie’s deep feelings towards Sam, one of the girls he’s made friends with. Do they get together in the end? Well, think of the most cliche ending you could think of…and you might be surprised.

Did I like the book? It was entertaining. It kept me turning the pages. I must say the love sagas kept me intrigued. I suppose those types of stories will keep anybody reading. No wonder Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular. Charlie, as a character, was well-defined, and I could definitely see him connecting with male readers. In fact, all of the characters were well-defined. There were a lot of funny parts in the book that really brought out the character traits. Patrick, one of Charlie’s friends, was particularly portrayed in numerous scenes in the book. He was no doubt one of my favorite characters.

I love the way the book was written. Yes it was written in journal-style, but Charlie is actually writing to an unknown person. Spoil alert: You never know exactly who he is writing to. He never says. But I think its a good writing technique: to let the reader use his/her imagination, thinking about who the mysterious person could be, rather than tell him/her outright. Admittedly, I was waiting for an epilouge where the mysterious person would finally write back and sign his or her name at the end. But, in the end, I was glad I didn’t know. I wanted the book to go on, because I enjoyed reading it. And because I didn’t know the mysterious person, it’s still going on for me, because I’m still wondering…

Chbosky really portrays the sad, disturbing, and sometimes shameful truth of public high school, hard family life, and the mere temporary satisfaction that teenage sex brings. Temporary content. And following drama and heartbreak that can happen because of it. Parents hitting their children, drugs and sneaking out of the house. Its all there. And its all in Charlie’s perspective, which I think is quite innocent. He doesn’t really know how to react to this new reality of high school and expected maturity. It’s very interesting to read.

The main problem I see with the book is that there is no strong conflict. The main problem of the book is Charlie’s developed crush on Sam, but I thought it was weak, as the book prolonged while mentioning Sam and Charlie only sparingly. The resolution of the book was certainly not what I was expecting, and neither did it leave me with a positive note–a good feeling. It didn’t seem complete to me. I was a little disapointed.


The movie, made recently last year, stars Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but for those who have. Please comment and tell me your thoughts! Is it similar to the book? Or switched around? You can never know with a movie based off of a book.

All in all, it was a good read. Definitely different from say, Great Expectations or The Great Gatsby or even Harry Potter, but I feel like its good to read a variety of genres and styles. It helps you discover your style and your strong points in writing. Think about your strong points. Story? Character development? Resolution? Or simply writing in journals…?

All due respect,

J.L. Cordova


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