“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky has been on my shelves for a long time, bought because of the cute title but it never seemed the right time to open it since then.
The premise of a coming-of-age story with a geeky boy who learns from some colourful other characters seemed just too worn and so I had admittedly not the greatest expectations.
On holiday I finally got to it and got sucked into it pretty quickly. While the book has indeed little to offer in terms of innovation, its characters carry it off easily long past the average marker on my scale. The author engaged me with his charming portrayal of Charlie and his conflicted love life, his love for literature and his oddball friends: teachers, gays, outcasts and even some regular ones.
The narrative voice is likeable immediately and even the fact that I waited for a long time to figure out where the book was going, it never occurred to me to put it down.
Warm , affecting and affectionate, quirky in right measures and thoughtful this has stayed with me for some time after. Just lovely.
In 2012 this was made into a movie with Chbosky as director.
Blurb: The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.
He is the recipient of the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Everything Divided as well as a participant in the Sundance Institute’s filmmakers’ lab for his current project, Fingernails and Smooth Skin. Chbosky lives in New York.