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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Paperback – 3 Aug 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Later Printing edition (3 Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671027344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671027346
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,304 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

What is most notable about this funny, touching, memorable first novel from Stephen Chbosky is the resounding accuracy with which the author captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age and gender; a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles many face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with the devastating fact of his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings:
"I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. 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, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why."
With the help of a teacher who recognises his wisdom and intuition, and his two friends, seniors Samantha and Patrick, Charlie mostly manages to avoid the depression he feels creeping up like ivy. When it all becomes too much, after a shocking realisation about his beloved late Aunt Helen, Charlie checks out for awhile. But he makes it back to reality in due time, ready to face his sophomore year and all that it may bring. Charlie, sincerely searching for that feeling of "being infinite" is a kindred spirit to the generation that's been slapped with the label X. --Brangien Davis, Amazon.com

Review

25 Ways To Keep Up The Culture:
16. Perks of Being a Wallflower: 'Emma Watson reinvents herself as Sam, a preppie American wild-child in Stephen Chbosky s film adaptation of his own coming-of-age bestseller. Ezra We Need To Talk About Kevin Miller plays Sam s gay step-brother and looks almost as pretty' - Evening Standard

'A coming of age tale in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace ... often inspirational and always beautifully written' - USA Today

'A rather lovely book' --- Look Magazine 1/10/12 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Glenfield on 4 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first found The Perks of Being a Wallflower in my recommendations, I was entirely skeptical - a sex and drugs book about a male, who describes why he's so out of it all the time AND who is obsessed with the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I had never heard of)? I had my reasons down to a point. And yet I still kept on coming back to look at the intriging cover and the reviews raving about it, a coming of age novel. So I decided what the heck, I can read it on my trip to Italy.
And now I can't seem to ever not be thinking about it.
It's not about sex and drugs, but about experimentation and living. Chbosky dives into the teenage mind with such clarity that at time's I thought he was reading my mind. Charlie's trauma and perspective on the people around him is so real and alive, that they make you think so hard.
It's an amazing book, I admit that. The simple vocabulary with the deepest meanings make it that much more extraordinary, and I loved reading the ending over and over again. It was sad to finish it, but hopefully I'll find more books to compare to this one.
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148 of 158 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
In this day and age when people are so cynical and cruel, it was a pleasure to read a book from the point of view of a genuinely nice person. Charlie is a "wallflower," meaning he stands back timidly watching others live life, afraid to participate. In the course of the novel, we watch Charlie grow: make friends, go to parties, participate, even fall in love -- in other words, come out of his shell. And by the end we discover why Charlie is unable to participate in life until now; we come to understand the source of his pain. I truly loved this book; and I don't care if other people put it down! The chapters are written in letter format, and the writing is smooth and unpretentious. This is definitely the best book I've read since THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez. And I discovered both books on Amazon. Anyway, if you like genuinely beautiful people, I'm sure you'll love the protagonist of this novel. You may even shed a tear for Charlie...bottom line: you'll be moved!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lecari on 15 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this, especially as in parts it's very insightful and I like all the little things he would point out, the little observations.

I wish the ending was a little less ambiguous though! I wonder what he was suffering from, and who he was writing to. (I suspect that's deliberate, though - he could be writing to anyone of us.)

He reminded me a little of Adrian Mole, in that he is a very innocent but very honest character, who notices all the little things and says all the unsaid. I liked when he talked about his family, or when he talked about good times with his friends. I could definitely relate to that, a moment feeling infinite, for example - he describes it far better than I ever could.

Quite an angsty read, but it's more than that - a very touching, heartfelt story that felt real and I could really relate to him. And a reminder to myself too, to try and "participate" more in life, to not be so shy and awkward and invisible. (I am more the listener than the do-er these days.) To remember to take risks and do what I like, even if it may upset others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Books Worth Remembering on 23 April 2012
Format: Paperback
The Perks of being a Wallflower is one of those well known teenage fiction books, ones that are beloved by many and considered `modern day classics'. I'd wanted to read Perks for a long while and I was very excited when it was let, by a friend, to me to take on holiday.

It was definitely unique, I loved the letter styled chapters and Charlie's narration was an endearing mixture of innocence, naivety but also wisdom beyond his years. I loved Charlie so much, he was one of those characters that you wish were real so you could have a conversation - I'd love to talk books with him!

Perks is quite a short book and I found I was able to read it all in one go (admittedly I was on a ten hour flight) because it was so compulsive. It is very much emotionally driven and tackles numerous topics - One example of this is when Charlie talks about time and how it passes, I really liked that and found it rather applicable at that moment considering I was on a long haul flight and wanting it to be over but time was going very slowly. Also I loved the big reveal at the end! (It was definitely a surprise to me)

I sometimes felt like it was lacking an end goal - you know how the main character always needs to do something or get somewhere, where you can tell why they are doing the things that they are - I felt that Perks was kind of a mystery. But then again that sort of reflects Charlie, he was muddling through high school trying to find himself and see where he fitted into this new group which he was now involved in. The one downside was that I found it hard to relate to the whole drugs and drinking scene, it's something I don't find particularly interesting to read, but I found I enjoyed seeing how Charlie fit into it (for like me it really wasn't what he was into)

One of those newer classic reads that I think any teenager can empathise and enjoy. I'd definitely recommend it to others and I have as since given it to my sister!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Els De Clercq on 24 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
There used to be a day when a coming-of-age story was almost synonymous with The Catcher in the Rye. Today, I've seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower, appear on many best coming-of-age lists. The similarities between the aforementioned classic are obvious: intelligent 15-year-old Charlie needs to discover himself and the world around him during his freshman year at high school.
Even though Charlie is an introverted person - a wallflower - he's by no means unpopular at his high school and he soon has a firm set of dedicated friends, most importantly Patrick - the not so closet gay - and his stepsister Sam, who Charlie has a not so secret crush on. At the same time Charlie faces all of the high school dilemmas that any average teenager encounters: sex, drugs, weird family relationships, the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the seemingly endless search for "being infinite". Charlie's intelligence is also noticed by the almost obligatory observant teacher (Bill, in this case) who gives Charlie extra reading material (a.o. The Catcher in the Rye).

However, this novel clearly sets itself apart from the long tradition of coming-of-age stories, because Charlie really isn't your average 15-year-old. Although it is never explicitly mentioned in the book, you can clearly read that Charlie not only suffers from a past that has been haunting him, he's also clearly autistic, which adds to the awkwardness of the writing style. In this case, I don't mean bad awkward, just different awkward. The book is written as an epistolary novel (and by the way, there's a lot of crying in the book, girls, boys, men...), with Charlie writing to an anonymous `dear friend', so the language used throughout is clearly Charlie's language: strange, awkward, unconventional but always honest.
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