“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Today I’m talking about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. A lot of people really like, even love, this book.

I wasn’t one of them. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like it at all, and I’ll do my best to say why here without spoiling the story too much.

The narrative style bothered me, not because of the letters-to-a-stranger thing, which was kind of a neat device. Maybe it was just too “literary” for my personal taste (or maybe I’m a dumbass talking out the low end — let’s not discount the possibility!). It felt navel-gazing in the most unpleasant way. Later on in the book there are other characters who call the narrator “gifted” and I just didn’t see it; he didn’t read that way to me at all.

That wasn’t what really bothered me about it though. I could be wrong about this, since I don’t have the particular problems he had, but I just did not buy the mental illness. It was pretty clear from the get-go that the author wanted something to be going on with the character, but what it ended up being, and the representation, just didn’t feel authentic to me. I’m open to being told I’m wrong, as always, but you still couldn’t make me like the book.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments.

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