The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky This was a stunning novel. I have procrastinated writing my review for a few days now, hoping that while I waited, the things I wanted to say would magically become clear, but alas, I have had no such luck. So I shall do my best. Trust me when I tell you to please read this book, no matter how good (or bad) my review ends up being.

Firstly, this book reminded me irresistibly of Catcher in the Rye. I'm not entirely sure why that is, as the plot really isn't all that similar (minus the coming of age-esque themes), but alas. For me, at least, that comparison is a good one, as both Catcher and Perks now rank among my top five favorite books of all time.

Secondly, this book shocked me just enough to keep me interested, in both plot and content. I don't usually have the pleasure of being surprised by the books I read, so that was a welcome change of pace. Perhaps a more astute reader would have seen certain things coming, but I settled in and didn't overthink things, and was never 100% sure where the path of the plot would take me (in the best way).

Thirdly, I absolutely love the epistolary format. I actually didn't know that the novel was written in that form until I began reading, and while it takes a little while to get used to, I found myself enjoying it quickly. Of course, the form does lend itself to wondering who exactly the letters are going to, but I rather like the fact that we end up not knowing.

If I had to have one criticism of Perks, it would be the blatant "adult-ness" of certain portions of the book (read as: sex, drugs, repeat). I have said similar things in other reviews, but I will repeat myself now: I accept adult themes because my issue with them is one of personal preference, and when they work within the plot I don't generally mind. However, I do take issue with "teen" or "young adult" books that don't clearly mark themselves as containing mature content. If I had read this book a few years ago, it would have made me uncomfortable, and it would be ridiculously inappropriate for anyone under the age of sixteen or so (and even that is dependent upon the maturity level of the individual).

All of the above said, I freaking loved this book. And if you haven't already read it, you should do so.

Rating: 5 Stars