Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Chobsky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chobsky
Published: Genre: YA, Fiction
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: 
Borrowed from the library.

Recommended if you like: Young Adult,  

What Its About:  
Charlie, a "wallflower", writes letters to an anonymous reader, "friend", (perhaps as therapy?) describing his daily life, struggles and experiences. As a freshman in high school he is facing such issues as sadness at the loss of a friend who committed suicide (exasperated by death of his favorite aunt earlier in his life), his efforts to develop friendships despite being shy and introspective, a  crush on one of those friends, and his struggles as his family changes, including his brother graduating and leaving for college and his sister getting pregnant by a boyfriend.

Eventually, Charlie supposedly realizes he has been molested by his beloved aunt when he was younger and ends up in therapy.  Ultimately, he decides that he should "take part" in his life and stops writing and moves on.

The Bottom Line:

Just eh.

I know lots of folks really enjoyed this one, but I was unimpressed.

The character of Charlie was such a wuss, going so far as to allow his homosexual friend to kiss him because he wanted to make him happy. However, on the flip side, his pathos was never quite fully realized. Having, supposedly, been molested as a child he is seemingly deeply loving of his molester, there seemed to be no anger or intense negative feelings. The character was just unrealistic.

Also, as I have mentioned in other YA reviews...this book just tried to address SO MANY issues. Drugs/drinking, homosexuality and bullying, teen pregnancy/abortion and teen promiscuity, rape and molestation, loneliness, suicide, death of a family member, growing up, etc., etc. Each of those items are very important, and perhaps several together would be fine. But all of those items forced into one *quite short* (200-ish page) novel...ech!

And through it all, Charlie's teacher assigns him additional reading assignments in class, for enjoyment. Ok, I get the reading for enjoyment thing... But its not like Chobsky expanded on this. Charlie didn't learn anything from those books (or if he did, it was never shared). So, what was the whole point? To connect the rambling whining about his traumas to reality? Or to draw in the "geek crowd" that Chobsky was tying to get to buy the book?  Ditto for the theater/Rocky Horror thing (and I am a theater person!).
Though I RARELY say this...

just watch the movie and save a few hours of your life.