January 8, 2015

Thursday Oldie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

So as you guys know, I just moved here. And that means my old blog now lies abandoned... alongside all my old reviews. But because I feel like some of them don't deserve such an awful treatment, I'm going to slowly move my favorite reviews here, especially if my opinion differs than Megs. (though some editing may occur, as I'm a little OCD about my reviews, and the older they originally are, the more likely I am to have things I want to rephrase). 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: Feb 2, 2009
Age Genre: Young Adult
Originally published: Feb 27, 2013
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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.
If you look at my original review, you'll see my initial rating was three stars. It wasn't because I thought the book deserved that rating; it was because I was afraid to give it less. Afraid of being the odd one out. I convinced myself I kind of liked it, to a point. Told myself I "both hated and loved it". I even wrote so in my review. I was lying.

Not consciously, but lying regardless. I didn't love this book. I didn't even like it. It went beyond simple disappointment; it was a profound discomfort. I didn't enjoy what I was reading. I felt like I shouldn't be reading it, and in the worst way possible.

Maybe I should've known this would happen when I chose to read the book just because the movie was coming, and my idol Emma Watson was starring in it. But I have found some gems because of movies before, so while the book never caught my interest (mostly because I couldn't glean the foggiest clue of what the book was about from the summary), I was optimistic. That oughta teach me. 

I couldn't connect with Charlie. His "voice" was so foreign to me, on many levels. He sounded to me like a ten year old in his writing--definitely not a 15-year-old. Then, from this ten year old, there would once in a while come some of the deepest things. It was jarring, even though I love meaningful shit like that. But the most awkward part was reading of this mental ten-year-old smoking, doing drugs, drinking and having sex-related experiences. It felt so completely wrong. Vile. I almost felt... violated, if I feel like being dramatic about it.  

If that's not enough, I couldn't relate to the way Charlie reacted to... just about everything. I felt like he probably has some form of autism, but I've read books with autistic protagonists before (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and The Rosie Project are a couple of astounding ones that come to mind), and I fully related, understood and loved those. Not here. 

And on top of all that (yes, there is more!), I didn't like Charlie's relationships with those around him, even with Patrick whom I loved (Sam, not so much). And I simply hated the romance--or lack of it. Or lack of conclusion. I felt like since I went through all that ickiness, I should at least get something out of it. 

But worst of all, this book didn't have a plot. It was just... all over the place, and the final revelation... it came out of nowhere! It was like *poof* and it's there. There was no hint or clue prior to it, nor a feeling like the book was heading anywhere near there

Honestly, I don't think I got the point of the book. Maybe I just missed something, because obviously people see something in it, but I didn't. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm okay with hating this book. I'm okay with being the odd one out. And I'm done pretending I'm not. 


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  1. It's surprising when I *do* agree with the popular opinion, this is why it always takes me months later to pick up a popular book, haha. We all have different likes and dislikes - that's what makes us unique. Thanks for sharing an honest review with us! I haven't read this book, and I don't plan on it. It's just not my cup of tea. :)

  2. I don't have a common response to crowd favorites. Sometimes I love them and feel the hype was well deserved. Sometimes I feel really indifferent about them - not hate, not love. And sometimes I hate them with the passion of hell's fires. It's why I still have hope for them. But I almost always read them way late because I'm afraid my response will be one of the latter two.
    I know it's harsh of me, but I'm glad you won't suffer through this book. Though, considering the popular opinion, you might've liked it, but meh.

  3. I haven't read this book yet,and have never intended to.I never liked the sound of this book, despite the popular opinion and the hype it carried around.
    Love your honest review, Nitz! And remember that your readers are only looking for your opinion, they'll never mind if you defy the popular one.

  4. Well, clearly - can't say I recommend it, so I'm not sorry you decided to avoid it ;)
    And yeah, I know. I don't know, it took me a while to be okay with giving bad reviews to popular books...