the perks of being a wallflower was writen by stephen chbosky. The title was left uncapitalised because that's how it is on the book - it feels somehow almost pretentious that the author of a book like this would attempt to escape the accepted norms of title capitalization in a book where the main character is all about escaping cultural norms. I'll stop myself before I read too much into it. There are a few small problems I have with the technicalities of the book, the title being one and the fact MTV Books was one of the publishers being the other.

"perks" was writen in the form of letters from this guy Charlie to some anonymous reciever. Charlie establishes in the begining that he will be using pseudonyms for himself and others because he doesn't want the reader of the letters to know who he really is. The setup makes it quite easy for us as the reader of the book to accept all of his self analysis without it feeling to forced as background information.

"perks" is one of the first books that has given me a soundtrack for it. A bit of the way through part two of the book, Charlie talks about a mixtape he has made for a friend. The theme is 'one winter', and Charlie gives us the playlist* for the second side. There’s something I’ve found very pleasing about listening to music and knowing the author was thinking of these songs as he wrote. Musical allusions, I believe the proper term would be.

There are many literary allusions inside too, but they are done quite well. Occasionally in books you’ll find times when the protaganist will reference how some book or another has changed his or her life – this often feels quite sloppy for me. Stephen Chbosky manages to allude to many other titles in a surprisingly neat and clean way. Charlie is a high school student, and at various times he will write about the newest book his English teacher has had him read.

All this said – I liked the book. A lot. This has become one of the most highly referenced books I’ll give people because it’s one where the readers empathy (or sympathy as the case may be) comes easily. It speaks with a teenage voice about ‘adult’ issues without sounding to much as if Chbosky has stepped on a soap box.


*
Asleep by the Smiths
Vapour Trail by Ride
Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
Time of No Reply by Nick Drake
Dear Prudence by the Beatles
Gypsy by Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues
Daydream by Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk by Genisis
MLK by U2
Blackbird by the Beatles
Lanslide by Fleetwood Mac
Asleep by the Smiths
Just my biased and irrelevant opinion however "the perks of being a wallflower" by stephen chbosky has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. It is a blatant rip-off of "The Catcher in the Rye" which features everyone's favorite depressed misanthropic agonized teenaged-lost-generation-youth. It tends to gain its fame from the the fact that it was banned by many states (and for good reason, it sucks.)and that it was also a book put out by MTV, a television station known for its "obvious" quality and real world affliction. After all what type of television station could be more real than one that puts out a show titled "The Real World". Therefore, "the perks of being a wallflower" is an instant success with all these MTV winners and counterculture fanatics. Make a book that talks about teenagers involved with sex and drugs and you will most certainly have a winning combination. Nothing in this book was original. Its lines were trite, and its plot was predictable. Interesting enough this book is also considered the emo bible for its many overly zealous followers that it enthralls. The people that read this book are often part of that little rebellious subculture loosely based on punk rock which I will not go into (see: guide to being emo for more information on this monstrosity.) This book's often simplistic and banal writing style obviously appeals to today's illiterate teenagers which seem to love this book for whatever reasons they may have.

Most famous line from the book:
"and in that moment i swear, we were infinite."
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Being finite is not good enough for you? Perhaps this is a line for those psuedo intellectual types but I cannot fathom or comprehend its meaning.

That is all for today's rant. All and all it wasn't the worst book I have ever read like I stated above, it was just overrated due to its undeserved fame.

The Perks of being a Wallflower was written by Stephan Chbosky in 1999. It has been hailed (maybe, maybe not) as the "Catcher in the Rye" of our generation.

It's written as a series of letters separated into four parts (and an epilogue) from "Charlie", the main character, to his 'friend'. All the characters are decidedly anonymous, and throughout the book, are referred to by other names or no names at all (Charlie's sister and brother have no given names).

The book follows Charlie through his entire freshman year, from making friends with "Nothing" to being hospitalized for a two week mental breakdown. The main conflict of the book (as implied on the back cover) is passion vs. passivity. Is putting others before yourself better than doing what you want, no matter what others say.

In attempting to do justice to this book, I make myself sound depressingly cryptic and self centered. I am not trying to do that. This book is, despite what others say, very smart. The earnestness of the writing, which makes you nearly forget that it is not truly written by a freshman in high school, but a grown man, overrides any pretentiousness that the book may have.

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