Student Choice Book Review-The Perks of Being a Wallflower

And so I think I have just found one of my favorite reads of all time. I remember the title jumping out at me from the page and so it was, and it was amazing. Through beautifully honest journal entries we learn the story of high school freshman Charlie otherwise known as the wallflower. The novel is set in the 90s, with all of the subsequent quirks of the “smells like teen spirit” era. Charlie befriends a group of people considered popular that change the course of life as he knows it. This group along with his English Teacher who gives him extra reading and writing assignments realize the uniqueness in Charlie’s personality and self. Through his journal, it was clear that Charlie is an introspective, thoughtful, and romantic soul who is also troubled.

I found myself smiling warmly, laughing, and almost crying throughout my reading. I will definitely love to include this novel in my future teaching curriculum. I think that this book is about becoming, about embracing yourself, and about how people are closer than we realize, how personal experiences can connect us all in an unspeakable profound way (among those in the novel include Homosexuality, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Death, and Suicide). I think it’s an important tale for student’s to take in, and it’s relatable and current which you can’t beat. And I love the way that Chbosky’s tells this story. I won’t give it away if you haven’t read it already, it’s just that awesome.

Monica Martinez

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2 thoughts on “Student Choice Book Review-The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  1. This has been one of my favorite books since I first read it. I’m sad that I didn’t encounter it until adulthood. I think I would have loved it when I was in high school. Not only would I have recognized the feelings of alienation Charlie deals with, but at that time I was a regular attendee of the midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. JMV

  2. Having already seen the film adaptation of the novel, I began to read it having a visual already in my mind. I am glad that the novel surpassed the film in so many ways. I don’t believe that you can truly understand Charlie as a character through just watching the film. And I think that lies partly in the author’s use of the epistolary format, which I really liked. This format is reminiscent of many Romantic novels that bring the characters full vulnerability to the forefront, allowing us access into his thought process, and most sincere of emotions. I think the theme of the “outsider” dominates, and can be relatable to kids of his age group. He is truly trying to find his “place” in the world, by also simultaneously dealing with issues of grief and abandonment. I think high school students would enjoy reading this novel and there are so many aspects of the story that can be adaptable to most types of learning abilities. As I read I immediately thought that it would be interesting to have the students have their own letter writing experiences as anonymous pen pals with students in other classes, or even just for me to read, so they might understand how liberating it is to write to someone who has no preconceived notions or expectations, and thus giving full freedom to express their thoughts and emotions in a genuine manner. This will also help with their writing since I am a firm believer that writing can only be improved through more writing. I will definitely keep the novel in mind for future units.

    AH

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