review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Books, Contemporary, Movies, Novel, Review, Young Adult


:: author:: Stephen Chbosky ::ย published: 2010 :: my rating: 4/5 :: genre: novel :: young adult :: contemporary :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

I’m trying something new today and posting a movie and book review all rolled in one post! I recently watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, something I had been meaning to do for some time, and because I had finished the book fairly recently as well, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Lets go ahead and get started ๐Ÿ™‚

Synopsis from goodreads:


Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

My Review:ย (No Spoilers)

The first time I read this book, was during my pre-teen years when I can’t say I was emotionally or mentally prepared to broach the topics presented. However, after revisiting the book, I was better able to grasp and appreciate the topics and issues that were being addressed. If there was were issues with the book, it would be the following.

  1. There was too much going on in the book. I felt like Chobsky tried too hard to include too many topics, and often times it felt overwhelming. Although this could have been done on purpose, I still felt myself having to stop periodically and just think.ย 
  2. I had to remind myself that Charlie was only a freshman and that this book took place in high school.ย 
  3. I had trouble understanding why Charlie was unable to identify any emotion other than sadness and regret. Although this is how depression works, I felt that this cycle of whining and inability to understand his situation to be monotonous.

However, I loved how real the book was. How it illustrated mental issues, and the realistic perspective into the struggles adolescents have.

First lines in the book:

“August 25, 1991
Dear Friend,

I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me. I didn’t enclose a return address for the same reason. I mean nothing bad by this. Honest.

I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist.

The movie, was equally as good, and I found myself falling in love with Emma Watson and surprisingly, I felt like Charlie became so much more real to me. The movie, however, expounded upon the drug culture, and I found myself thinking that this seemed to be more of a college setting than that of high school. This could be in part because my high school experience was so much different, but it was difficult to grasp that these kids were merely high schoolers, as they had so much terrible history behind them.


I believe that Chobsky’s characterization and descriptions of the characters were the highlights of the book, and what made the book so lovable. By the end of both the book and the movie, I felt as if I knew each character at a personal and deep level. Each were multifaceted and brought so much dimension to the book.

Charlie is the embodiment of all that adolescents are afraid to admit and be.ย Innocent and honest, he works as the perfect narrator, providing insight into all the ugly and terrible things that accompany growing up, while also showing the beauty of friendship and love. Suffering from childhood trauma, and depression, Charlie is simply trying to make his way through high school as a normal student. Not only does Charlie have an ugly past that always threatens to ruin his social life, Charlie finds himself to be smarter, and more insightful than the rest of his class. Although his complaints and inability to function correctly in society grew to be annoying, I could understand and empathize with his plight.

In the movie: Charlie is everything I imagined him to be in the book. I had trouble grasping what sort of exterior Charlie exuded at school, and the movie helped me to realize that even with his conflicting interior, he was just that kid in school that we never talked to. This prompted me to realize that these people suffering from problems are all around us.

Contrasting sharply to Charlie’s naivety is Sam. Patrick and Sam take Charlie under their wings, and teach him about life. I believe that it is Charlie’s interactions with these characters that develop him, and expose him to the reader. I won’t say much about the supporting characters, as I found myself enjoying reading and learning about them the most.

The Plot:

There are a series of love stories in this book, all very different from each other. I loved this aspect of this book, as the reader is shown the pain and hardship that accompany any sort of relationship. There were relationships that didn’t work out, a LGBT relationship, one without love, and an abusive one as well. This helped me realize that it’s not always happily ever, and that in the world, there is always a lot more under the surface.

Though I won’t say much about the plot, as I found the characters to be what made the book amazing, I never was bored, and found myself devouring each page to discover more about each character.

Final Thoughts:

This story provided moments to cry, learn and empathize. This coming to age novel taught me a lot about mental health, as well as allowed me to realize that some of the thoughts and issues I was having was not exclusive to me. I was able to better grasp the value of friendship, and what love is. I recommend this to everyone and anyone!

Both the book and movie were wonderful, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to reread and watch.


Have you watched or read eitherย The Perks of Being a Wallflower?ย What did you think?ย Let me know in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

25 thoughts on “review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

    1. I’m glad to hear that you liked both! Honestly, so many parts of both left me both sad and hapoy at the same time. I wish I could enter into the book I learn where they all ended up!


    1. Same here! The book always needs to come first for me so that I can imagine things my way first. I think movies are difficult because you really can’t fit everything in in 2 hours.
      I hope that you get a chance to read it soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review, I love how you’ve reviewed both the film and the movie together as well. As of this moment I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but I have seen the trailer and it looks really good, so one day I may have to pick up both the book and the film (obviously I’ll read the book before I started the film!)
    It does sound like a brilliant book, and I’m glad you loved it as well even though this was a re-read from when you were younger. It’s also great that it highlights mental issues as well, it’s something we need to see more of in YA fiction so I always love it when a book chooses to focus on that angle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad I was able to revisit the book, and to reread the book as well. I was able to garner so much more truth and insight this time around. You really should do both sometime! This is one of the best book to movie adaptations I’ve seen so far.
      It’s always imperative to read the book first! Haha. I was so glad it did address the mental issues, and there were even LGBTQ relationships which was also great.
      I hope you get to read/watch in the near future ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah I love rereading old books I’ve enjoyed before, there’s always something new to discover. I’ll definitely try and get around to checking out both the book and the movie at some point they both sound really great, and don’t worry I always read the book first. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You make so many good points about the book! To be honest, I actually like the movie better than the book. It’s probably one of the best YA book movie adaptations out there, next to The Spectacular Now, and it really captured a lot of the raw feelings that the book struggled to convey at times.
    I agree with you that the book’s setting was hard for me to identify – but then again, I was a quiet nerd in high school (and I still am, haha!) so I wasn’t exposed to the stuff that the characters were exposed to – not until university anyway.
    Great review, Grace! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew to love the characters so much in the book, and the movies made the characters real to me. I was able to see them as real people, and to appreciate the book more.
      I wish the setting had been in college, so that it seems more realistic, but I guess the concept of growing up and finding your identity happens in high school.
      Thank you so much for your kind comment โค


  3. I think I liked the movie best! I read the book a few years ago and thought it was great, and of course I tried too. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ
    You’re right that the best thing about the story was the characters. In the book they were very memorable, but in the movie they came to life.
    Thanks for the thoughtful and in-depth review of both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the movie, and I love Emma Watson! I love how you put that. “In the book, they were very memorable, but in the movie they came to life.” That’s exactly what happened, and that’s why this turned out to be one of my favorite book/movie duo!
      Thank you for the lovely comment ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Yay, so glad you loved this! It’s one of my favourite books ever. The themes it deals with are handled so brilliantly and I related to Charlie so much. The movie adaptation is one of my favourites too. The movie hit me even harder than the book did because everything just came to life so brilliantly. The cast were all so brilliant. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really did! When I read it years ago, I wasn’t able to fully grasp the entirety of the book, but this time around, I fell myself falling in love, and appreciating all that Chobsky did!
      I have to say, this is one of the best adaptations I’ve seen, I didn’t walk away with many complaints, and each really did come to life!
      Thank you Lauren ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Though I usually think that books are SO MUCH better than their movie adaptations, this is one of those rare exceptions. I left the movie theater after watching this film feeling like it was at least equal to the book, if not better. It’s such a great story, and the casting was perfect. Great review! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? I always feel as if there’s something lacking in the movie, which is why I prefer the book instead, but this movie was a masterpiece. I felt as if the actors did a great job embodying the characters, and everything that had to be covered, were!
      Thank you Holly ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. I’ve been meaning to check out the novel and the movie for quite some time. This makes me want to get to it ASAP! I also want to see Ezra Miller in action, for the sake of getting to know the actor more. ๐Ÿ˜› Awesome book-movie mash-up review.

    – Lashaan


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