The Perks of being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (Book Review)

Sunday, May 15, 2011 § 31

The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 232 pages

Publisher: Pocket Books and Design

ISBN: 978-1-84739-407-1

With Film Version? Soooon (check out the news video at the bottom of the post)
Number of Times Read: 2x

I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day.. Or wondering who did the heartbreaking and wondering why......

... Patrick then said something I don't think I'll ever forget.

"He's a wallflower."

And Bob really nodded his head. And the whole room nodded their head. And I started to feel nervous but Patrick never let me get too nervous. He sat down next to me.

"You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand."
(Excerpt from the novel)

Charlie is this fifteen-year-old boy who is shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years, and extremely emotional. He tells his story through a series of letters addressed to a 'friend' he does not know, and who doesn't know him either, for anonymity. He attempts to navigate his way through uncharted territory-- his struggles with his mental illness, making friends AND finding best friends, girls, the world of sex, first love, first dates and mixed tapes, the feeling of being treated like an adult, and all that stuff.

Had I discovered this book in my awkward freshman high school days, I would have been able to relate, but now that I'm a crazy, adventurous teenager in her 20s, all I could do is reminisce. What happened those days certainly were the most innocent and awkward moments I ever had! In his awkward shyness, Charlie is really lucky to find two best friends-- Sam and Patrick-- they are a mixture of fun-and-seriousness, they are the kind of friends who know how to have fun and at the same time could wiggle out a good piece of advice when the going gets tough.  And boy was it really tough for Charlie! I would have to mention that his childhood friend Michael committed suicide in 6th grade and his favorite aunt, Aunt Helen died in a car accident when he was younger. And there's more but I don't want to spoil it to readers!

The curious thing mentioned in the novel is the 'brownie' that was given to Charlie by his new found friend Bill. I was debating with myself whether it was a pot brownie or brownie with LSD. I did a little research and I guess, it was pot, because when Charlie ate it, he was high and he just saw lights. With LSD, seeing lights isn't the main thing, you see weird stuff like purple elephants, or feel things that aren't there. I learned that the other term for pot brownie is "space brownie". And brownie with LSD is called "magic brownie". Kinda cool, huh? I'm just being informative here. I was really curious because I've never done drugs. The most creative and cutesy teenage rebel experiment I ever done are Jell-O shots. I love the strawberry flavored ones! But I'm not gonna dwell on that now.

So.. The main thing about this story is that Charlie is caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. He is introspective, he thinks too much, too preoccupied to participate in society. Instead, he sees things, watches, observes, is intuitive and so he understands what he sees. When told not to say anything about something, he obliges. When told not to do something, he nods his head yes. Which really cripples his ability to decide on his own. Which is not good because even if he knows that something doesn't fit well, he just keeps quiet. With that, he isn't being honest with himself, and to other people.

We've all been there, or most of us anyway. Sometimes, we would observe everything and everyone around us, and we ask why is this and why is that and not getting a satisfactory answer back. Sometimes we just wanna run away from everything and forget. The thing is, we have to stop asking WHY because no one or nothing in this world can give us the right answer. So why worry about the unanswerables? (Is that even a word? But I hope you understand what I'm trying to point out.. ) The thing is, we have to live. No matter what. Why else are we living and breathing and blogging or reading or whatever it is that we're doing every minute of the day..? The thing is, we don't stop living just because something happens. The thing is, nothing in this world can stop the world from turning. The thing is, no matter what, no matter how hard, no matter how life sucks, we still have to participate. Believe me or not, everything we do in life has this domino effect. We start a few series of disaster, and it will go on and on until somebody is smart enough to stop the cascade. We start a few series of happiness, and it will go on and go on, and we should be smart enough not to stop it, we should be smart enough to do whatever it takes for the dominoes of happiness to go on and on. I know this is an impossible feat but maybe, just maybe, we can go as far as the 'almost' impossible.. Sometimes there are things we can't do anything about but even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from where.

The passage in the novel I so loved is this: “I feel infinite.” And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spend, and we felt young in a good way.” Infinity. I envy Sam, Patrick and Charlie on their moment of infinity. While I know that we are humans, finite and mortal, sometimes I just want to discover a momentum where I feel even for just one second the feeling of everlasting, infinite, eternal, perpetual. And I'm not talking about getting high! (;

The great news:  a movie is being made out of this one and it's scheduled to come out next year. I just hope they don't mess it up because it's a known fact that film adaptations ruin the original stories big-fucking-time. Maybe not this one, because Stephen Chbosky himself is directing. (;

Adjectives: Cool. Asteeg! (;

You Might Also Like: The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger

Buy or Borrow: WTH. Of course, BUY again! (;

Quotable Quotes:

"I feel infinite."

"Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody." 

"I want to make sure that the first person you kiss loves you, okay?"

"But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from,
we can still choose where we go from where."

"Everyone is special in their own way."

"Every person has to live his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people."

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

"I would die for you but I won't live for you."

"I was looking at the photographs and I started thinking that there was a time when these weren't memories."

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§ 31 Response to “The Perks of being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (Book Review)”

  • MG says:

    i think the book is for teens like me. hahahaha. kidding. you make kwento kwento nanaman, hahaha, love this line

    "But even if we don't have the power to choose choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from where."

  • Anonymous says:

    I was planning on buying the book but it's out of stock in the bookstores near us so, temporarily, I got the e-book instead. i'm really looking forward to the movie besides the fact that logan lerman and emma watson would be in it, I'd like to see if the film's adaptation would not be a disappointment as compared to the book. :D

  • @MG: really.. so you a late bloomer? he he.. hey, this is how book reviews go, the important thing is, I don't reveal the ending.. *wink*

  • @sarahdlsan: hey, if you want the real book, you could order online @ National Bookstore.. But you have to pay the shipping fee, which is too much. hehe..

  • Anonymous says:

    I have read this book! It's one of the best ones I ever read! It's nice to know that the author himself is directing the movie!

  • ka bute says:

    saw this book yesterday. cool and catchy yung cover. ^_^

  • @ka bute: yeah its so cool. para syang bob ong, english version. oh forget bob ong. this one is much better (;

    hey where did you see it? kci ive been looking for a copy.. borrowed lang yung binasa ko.. i have to order it online pero matagal pa darating and i want a copy now. he he..

  • iya_khin says:

    I'll try to get a copy of it..hmmm..i thinks it's kinda cute..anyway you blogged about it so it means it's cool!

  • @iya_khin: thanks.. hehe.. yeah you should get a copy.. para syang j.d.salinger.. (;

  • ka bute says:

    national bookstore.. :D i think it's in the top 10 best sellers of the month. hehe. have u already read trash by andy mulligan. been wanting to get a copy of this book but im not really sure if it's a good read. ;) baka sayang ang money. hehe. @_@

  • @ka bute: hm, when i talked to someone fr national bookstorey via phone, i was told na they never stocked the book. when i personally went to the store, out of stock daw. ang gulo nila. but anyways i had made a reservation. this book is so good you should help yourself with a copy! trash by andy mulligan.. ill check it out. right, good reads are good investments. (;

  • ka bute says:

    saw a copy sa national bookstore annapolis branch. naging interested ako bigla. sige nga, i'll buy a copy. ^_^

    it's always a good thing to 'meet' a person who shares the same passion as you. hehe.

  • @ka bute: ang layo naman dito sa pangasinan.. he he.. i'll just wait for my book reservation na lang..
    it's a good thing i get to 'persuade' people to buy the same amazing crap i read. (;

    yeah IT is always a good thing to 'meet' a guy who thinks reading is cool. not a lot of guys appreciate books more than sports and all that violent shit.

  • ka bute says:

    kanya-kanyang trip lang. ^_^ been into reading since i was in grade school. i remember when i was still studying.. half (if not all) of my savings from my baon was spent buying "amazing crap" (as you call it). hehe. sayang nga lang, di ko na na-keep lahat. asar kasi yung mga nanghihiram, di naman nagsosoli. buti na lang ngayon hindi na. thanks to kindle. hehe. ^_^

  • he he.. parehas lang pala tayo. i started reading and collecting these amazing crap in grade school. yeah, kaasar yung mga di nagbabalik, they would even deny of borrowing the crap, when they actually did!
    kindle huh? i prefer reading on the traditional way.. there's something specially riveting about actually smelling the scent, & feeling the texture of books. ((:

  • ka bute says:

    those crap cost me a fortune (fortune tlaga e no? haha).. then came ebooks, taran!! hehe. bad ano? ^_^

    di ko naman ganong nami-miss ang scent at texture ng totoong libro. madalas ako sa mga bookstores.. nagpprivate reading. hahaha. hala, ginawa ko ng chatroom 'tong blog mo. lels/ ;)

  • crap na talaga tawag naten ee. haha. hm, i read ebooks too, pag wala akong choice..
    ganun? gawain ko din magprivate reading sa bookstore, sumasalampak ako sa floormat sa kiddie section! lol kaya nga ee. . ayos lang yan. nageenjoy naman ako makipag 'chat' sayo ((:

  • tim says:

    Mahilig akong mag basa, kaya nga ng kasakit na ako sa mata. di na words ang binabasa ko, envisioned ko na movement na. Yun pla porn. hehehehehe

  • @tim: wow. just wow. another guy who loves to read. how many are still out there? hehehe. porn is ok, for other people, just not for me. mas maganda pag kaw ang bida. haha. joke lang. thanks for dropping by and commenting.. (;

  • broken says:

    nice review, karen. ima check it out..

  • @broken: thanks! yeah you should read the book.. (;

  • Heather says:

    I linked it to your blog, they were just the words I needed to hear.
    I didn't even notice the typo, funny how your brain can just ignore things that don't seem right.

  • ka bute says:

    read it. ^_^ and.... i think i know someone who's a lot like charlie. ^_^

  • Sey says:

    I'll be out for book hunting today. I hope I could find one.

    Too bad for Charlie but I think if someone out there has the same character, It's not too late to change and make decision of their own.

  • @heather: hehe yah, sometimes we humans ignore the simple things in life cus we're too preoccupied with the complicated ones.. *wink*

  • @ka bute: wow.. good for you.. bought your own copy, i bet.. i, too, do know someone who's a lot like charlie (;

  • @sey: ka bute said there are copies available @ national bookstore- annapolis.. (;

  • ka bute says:

    i think it's P299. hehe. i can buy you one.. free delivery pa. joke! (--,)

  • @ka bute: you gonna buy me one? too bad it's a joke pala.. tsk tsk.. free delivery pa naman (x

  • Rachelle says:

    i love this book. reminds me of catcher in the rye.

    the "i feel infinite" scene really feels real for me when i read it. imagine sam at the back of the truck with the rushing wind on her face. haay. hahaha

  • @rachelle: yess, it's a very good book.. it's my latest favorite, actually. (; i love the infinite scene, too. thanks for dropping by..(;