Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: borrowed
Publication Date: February 1999
Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books
Genres & Themes: YA, Family, Friendship, Love, Abuse, Realistic Fiction, LGBT.


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.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


‘‘Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.’’

That is quite true. I have stumbled upon many beautiful sentences, throughout my reading, and ones that make us think but, this one, is my absolute favorite of them all.


There is so much that can be said about this, yet I don’t seem to find the right words, but I will try my best. It was such an…emotional, deep and realistic story. The plot was simple, if we only look at it as a whole, but every detail contributed to make it an incredible read. And every character to make this story an unforgettable one for us.

Charlie is the sweetest male character I have ever encountered in a read.

What I loved most about him though is how honest he was and wasn’t afraid to tell the truth. There is some exception though but he felt so bad for lying that he made everything right and I couldn’t stop saying/thinking ‘‘Aww.’’ He is cute and loveable and it is impossible not to get invested in his story.

Not only was the main character a fantastic one, but the secondary ones were as well. Let’s take Sam for example. She may look/behave like a million other girls on the planet but, the way she understood Charlie and always seemed to have the right words for him, made her someone unique and a wonderful person to my eyes.

There are multiple ‘love stories’ in this book but they don’t all end well. I wasn’t as affected while reading, since I saw the movie first, but it was still very hard to read about Patrick’s relationship with Brad. LGBT has always been a dear theme to me and reading about how sad, beautiful and poignant Patrick’s love for Brad was really touched me and I only wished, throughout the story, that they will both have their happily-ever-after because, even though they may not be perfect, they deserve it.

I saw multiple reviewers complain about the writing. Some said it was too simplistic for them to enjoy it or perhaps they weren’t used to this kind of style. It very much reminded me of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’s–a book I highly highly recommend. It was indeed simplistic but, like Charlie, himself, said in the story, he writes the way he speaks. And, knowing that, I found it matching the story perfectly. And ended up loving it and feeling even more like knowing Charlie in dept than I may have with a different writing style.

The story was filled with different themes or messages, but the one I love the most is how it’s not where we come from or in which family we grow up in that define who we are. We make our own future and it’s not because our parent(s) treated us badly or was/were alcoholic that we will as well. It’s our life and, depending on ourselves and our choices in life, we will become who we are meant or wish to.

There is a reason why this book is so popular and appreciated by readers and, by reading it, you will certainly find out. It’s the kind of book I would recommend that everyone, at least once in their life, would read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

42 thoughts on “Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  1. Long time, no see! Good to have you back =)
    I’m so happy you loved this book! It’s one of my favourites and I do agree with everything you wrote. And regarding the writing style, I love it because even though it may seem simplistic most of us speak and write like that at that age and also, is a diary so it fit perfectly well.
    I’ve read it twice and I know that I’ll read it again and even though the big shock is no longer a shock it’s good to pick up on other things.


    • Yes!! But I’m back now for real 😀 Thank you!

      It’s rare to read books written like a diary and I like some variety in my reads so it was great!! I’m SURE I will read it again too because it’s that kind. The kind, to fully understand the characters, you need to read it more than once.


  2. Awhh! What a great review. I haven’t read this book for many years but everything about it still sticks with me. I loved the simplicity of this story and yet how deep it was. Will definitely have to read it again and see the movie!


  3. I’m so glad you loved the book. 🙂 Its one of my favorite books, even though the Serbian translation wasn’t that good. 😀 And it was a good movie, I think they did a great job with casting. 🙂
    Your review is awesome, as always. 🙂 :*


  4. Ah that sentence was my favorite too! But it says so much with so little words! 🙂 I simply love it and I’m happy you do too. Also I totally agree about Charlie and it’s really easy to read this one and feel everything. He was one of the best male characters I have ever encountered. Amazing review, Lola 🙂


    • Itt DOES say a lot with so little words! I don’t know if you’ve read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but it also had this type of writing and felt so relatable that I couldn’t help but love that one as well. Thank you, Tanja!!


  5. I saw the movie before I read the book..the movie was simply fabulous…it is one of my favorites (no kidding) but then I read the book it was also amazing…it’s very different than other books..written in letters only…that’s really awesome!


  6. You’re back! 😀
    I didn’t watch the movie because I was in a bad reading slump in late 2012, so I didn’t feel like reading the book, and I try not to watch the movie before I read the book, haha. Two years later and I’ve still been putting this book off, despite the glowing praise I’ve been hearing. I tell myself I’ve been waiting to start the book because I might understand it better if I’m a little older, but truthfully it’s probably just laziness. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, though! Amazing review (:


  7. Oh my gosh this book sounds so amazing, and I love how you compared the writing to A&D! I loved that book so much, and the male character just sounds like such a sweetheart. I have this on my shelf and it’s been staring at me. Thanks for the great review Lola!


  8. It’s funny, I agree with you in so many ways (Charlie being the sweetest, LGBT portrayal, simplicity but beauty of the story etc), but at the same time, I have to mention that I’m a weirdo, because I didn’t love the book. In fact, I didn’t feel much of anything when reading it. I listened to the audio, so that may be it. It was my first ever audiobook tbh and I didn’t make much of a connection to it. But I did, however, love the movie to pieces and I think that it really helps to read the book in order to understand the movie better and I still think that everyone should try this book 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it a lot more than I did, Lola! x


  9. I have yet to read this book but I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Love the quote you picked out and the themes in the book, brilliant review!


  10. Like you I loved this book so hard. It was just so perfect and really beautiful and spoke to me on so many levels. I cried and laugh reading this one and was so happy that the film did the book so much justice! Love this review Lola 🙂


  11. *Internal Screaming* I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! The Perks is probably my all time favorite book, or at least in the top five! I passed out copies of it for World Book Night and I hope everyone who received a copy loved it as much as I did, and as you do! I felt like the movie was amazing, too! The book is more special to me, but the movie was one of the best book-to-film adaptions I’ve seen! Great review! 🙂


  12. With the huge amount of hype it has (probably because of the movie I’m guessing!), I’ve been a bit hesitant to read this because I never like to be the black sheep when it comes to “popular” books. However, the way you’ve described this and how relatable it is makes me really want to give it a try. I had some minor issues with Aristotle and Dante, but I did love the writing style, so I’m looking forward to getting a copy of this. Thanks for sharing Lola and, as always, FABULOUS review! ❤


  13. Oh yes I remember seeing this one a lot around last year when it was released in France. The reviews were so great! I’m glad you had a wonderful time as well. I really should try! Great review!


  14. I started reading this one a couple of weeks ago, but my Kindle got issues and then I forgot all about it! I HAVE to get back to this one. I loved the movie so much, that I hope the book is just the same. Great review, Lola!


  15. *Glares at movie cover.*

    I can relate to being a wallflower. Charlie sounds like a great main character. I want a real life version please. Simplistic writing can be annoying, but if the character is simple and then thinks super complex that doesn’t work either.

    I’ll have to add this to my list of contemporaries I should try.


  16. Oh Lola!!! This book has been sitting in my table for about 3 months already and I haven’t read it yet. Thanks for sharing this wonderful review. This is another reason for me to read it already.


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  18. Thank you for the great review Lola! I read this back in high school, it’s actually a pretty good coming of age story. I liked the movie too, but the book will always be better 🙂


  19. I’m a person who prefers books to movies but I watched the movie first anyway. And it was REALLY good [I later found out that the reason was Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay for the movies]. So I thought I must read the book. And it was amazing.
    We all know how coming-of-age stories usually go but I love the way this one was narrated. It’s told in a series of letters to an anonymous ‘friend’ by Charlie, the protagonist. What’s different about Charlie is his innocent way of noticing the world and writing it down just the way he sees it. He gets nervous and anxious and fall in love just like all of us.
    This is a wonderful book and a must-read for people of all ages [14 and above of course!].


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