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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bookshelf: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
"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 mixed 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 Charlie 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."
If someone said to me now 'hey, read this book, it's called The Perks of Being a Wallflower & it's written in the form of diary entries' I'd probably think nah, that's not a book for me. And I would be missing out. Hugely, hugely missing out. This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks now because I haven't been able to find the right combination of words to properly express how utterly wonderful I think this book is but, if I'm honest, I'm not sure I ever will so we'll see how this goes (with no spoilers!)...

It might be because I read it for the first time as a teenager and therefore there are a whole bunch of feelings, memories & sentimentality I attach to it, but I can also read it now and feel that instant connection. I'm not sure. I think it's one of those books that you'll connect with or you won't. The letter format is one element I think will be very love/hate. Usually it's not for me, but this book wouldn't be the same if it were written any other way. Charlie's letters, his way of writing down what's going on in his life, really pull me in, I feel a real connection to him and like I'm a part of his world.

At it's very heart this book is a beautiful coming-of-age story in which Charlie describes things happening in his life, the things he feels & the journey he goes on through a series of letters to an anonymous stranger whom we never meet. Charlie is a beautiful soul, sweet, introspective, intelligent far beyond his fifteen years yet incredibly awkward & naive; he's a wallflower. I really identify with Charlie in this respect; it used to be something I hated intently but once I learned that it's okay to be who you are (something this book really helped me with in my early teens), it's okay to be quiet and some of the things you see when you quietly observe are incredible. And his story, this story, as the author has said, is for anyone that has ever felt like an outcast.
"So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them."
The book is as much about Charlie's friends and family as it is about him and the things he's going through. Even though someone's life may look completely wonderful from the outside, it's probably not all that it appears to be. Through Charlie we learn about those closest to him and how beautifully he understands them, quietly accepts their flaws, sees them for the wonderful good-hearted people they fundamentally are and always wants the best for them. His decisions aren't always the right ones, but he learns from them and always makes things right. I haven't experienced everything that Charlie and his friends go through, there are so many social issues within the pages, but there are a good chunk that I have and they're so relateable, the feelings that they stir up are so raw. I smiled, I cried and my heart was broken & then patched back together shortly after, all within 200 pages.
"I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite."
In times where you feel like you don't have anything else, there is always hope. Never stop hoping because even if you don't think so, somebody somewhere thinks you deserve to be happy. When you're going through a dark time, where simply getting out of bed each morning is a struggle, remember that it will get better. Even though to you, in that moment, I know it can be all consuming.
"I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.” 
If you haven't read it please don't dismiss it because it's popular or because it was first published by MTV or because you can't scroll through tumblr without seeing a quote from the book on every page. Give it a try, it might just surprise you. And if books aren't really your thing, watch the film because it's equally as beautiful, sweet, heartbreaking, heart-warming & so much more all at the same time.

Have you read Perks before? 
What did you think of it?

Love, Jennie
xoxo

80 comments:

  1. I've read the book, seen the movie and absolutely loved it! You do feel sorry for Charlie, but like you said, you feel the hope as well. Amazing book and I actually really enjoyed the movie as well, they definitely did a lot on that right.

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    1. I really liked the film too, I think they did a good job! xo

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  2. I really want to read this :) I might pick it up over Christmas
    Amy x | A Little Boat Sailing

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  3. I absolutely love 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' I will admit I saw this film first and cried a lot because it all resonated so much with me, and read the book after. Que more crying - I love them both equally so so beautiful. Think I will have to watch the film again tonight <3

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    1. Ohh I know that feeling. I cry every time I read/watch! Every single time! xo

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  4. I love the book! Although I have to admit the diary entry style threw me off at first. -Hanna Lei

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    1. Me too, I got used to it super quickly though, which was nice <3

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  5. I'm going to put this on my book wishlist! xx

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    1. I really recommend, it's worth a read! xo

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  6. Loved the movie and would definitely give the book a go, it really is a beautifully unique story. x

    Sophie <3 soinspo

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    1. Definitely do, there's a lot more in the book that didn't make it to the film xo

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  7. I also love the book! It's comforting and empowering at the same time. I wish there were more good books like this out there! :) xx

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  8. I read this when I was a lot younger-- in middle school or early high school and I didn't really like it! I can't even remember why but I definitely want to read it again!

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    1. Definitely worth another try I think! xo

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  9. i love love love this book. And also I have the bunny lamp too, such a cute little piece ;) xo

    fernlaura.blogspot.co.uk

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  10. this is next on my to-read list. I'm currently working through my John Green obsession ;)

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    1. I haven't read any of his books, on my to-do list for early 2014! xo

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  11. Such a beautiful, beautiful book! One of my absolute favourites! The film really doesn't do it justice :)

    Charlotte - blotandreapply.com xx

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    1. I really liked the film, it's a good companion to the book <3

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  12. This makes me want to read the book even more. Will read the book before watching the film though.
    Shauni x
    <a href="http://http://shaunibrown.blogspot.co.uk>ShauniBrown</a>

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    1. There's a lot more in the book than the film, I would definitely recommend reading the book first but the film is a beautiful companion to it <3

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  13. I think I'm going to ask for this for Christmas, I thought the film was beautiful so I bet the book is even better! xxx

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    1. It's a beautiful read, there's a lot more in the book, I think you'll love it! xo

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  14. I've just finished reading this. I absolutely loved it, this may sound strange but I didn't think I was going to like it as Charlie is a boy so I thought he'd be harder to relate to. But that wasn't the case at all. Definitely one of my favourite books!

    Tori xxx

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    1. I love how easy it is to relate to, a beautiful book <3

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  15. I've seen the movie twice now as I promised two different people that I'd go with them haha. I do tend to be put off reading books if I've already seen the movie though. I find it hard to get the actors/actresses out of my head if I've already seen it on screen.

    IAmLinderella.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. They got the casting very right for the film, they really became the characters <3

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  16. I've read this book so many times and always seem to find new parts in it I'd overlooked or hadn't been able to relate to the last time. So many perfect quotes in this book.

    Emma
    http://emmawillz.blogspot.co.uk/

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  17. I've only seen the trailer of the movie so far but
    this book is on my to-read list c: Xx

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  18. I LOVE THAT BOOK, one of my favorites. I think the movie didn't make it justice, I enjoyed it but I thinks is a "light" version of the book.

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    1. I think there was a lot they couldn't put in without bumping the rating up & out of their target audience! xo

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    2. Yeah! You're right, there was clearly a define target, although the book isn't exactly for kids and there"s no censure needed. Anyways, book and film are both so great and so touching.. I would recomend both
      xo

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  19. This is such a beautiful book, I can remember not being able to put it down! For me, I thought the film was a brilliant adaption, also leaving me stunned just like when I had finished the book. I can't remember another book, even close that has taught me and made me feel so emotional. I would advise people to read the book first, as I was so glad I had when I watched the film, it's hard to explain but I feel it made the emotions played by the actors so much stronger and deeper. Just a fantastic story! Great post too :) xx

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    1. I really loved the film too, I think they did such a good job with it. The book is such a beautiful read <3

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  20. I keep meaning to try this book, it looks like something I'd enjoy :) xx

    www.ohsoaddictedtobeauty.blogspot.com

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  21. It's a really thoughtful book I think, the lines in it that Charlie writes do make me think. I read it after the film came out, so not that long ago, so it doesn't have quite as deep a meaning for me but it always makes me think and reflect on different aspects of my life! xx
    www.LaurasHaven.com

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    1. I think there's almost something for everyone in the pages. A truly lovely read <3

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  22. I couldn't agree with you more. I read this book aged about 20 and wish I'd read it as a teenager because it so perfectly sums up that age. I think all artistically inclined awkward teenagers should give it a look, and I feel it will stick with you for the rest of your life. Some really beautiful lines in there! and as for the tumblr connection I'll admit thats probably why I picked it up (Im very easily influenced) but boy oh boy I'm glad I did!
    Beautiful post as always Jennie:) xoxo

    lizzarroo.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It's definitely one that sticks with you, I love books like that. Ahh yay! I do love tumblr, not such a fan of those who instantly dislike something because it's popular without giving it a chance ;)

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  23. I've just read a few of his other books and they were absolutely amazing! Have just downloaded this one to my iPad and I can't wait to start reading it!! Lovely post :)

    Debra Bros Blog

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  24. Never read, but I really want to read it! This goes on my christmas wishlist :)

    xo Mel
    Selfhelp | Inspiration | Positivity

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  25. We had to read this at school - it's one of my favourite books now! X

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  26. I finally have some time to catch up with my favourite blogs! Yours is the first one on the list. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is on my 'to read' list and I loved the movie so the book must be even better :)x

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    1. Aww thank you sweet lady! It's a wonderful book, I think you'll love it! xo

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  27. I've been wanting to read this book for ages! Sounds great x

    http://lovetelina.blogspot.com

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  28. I read this a little while back as I'd heard a lot about it, enjoyed it, now I#ve got to watch the film!

    Hannah.
    http://surfjewels.tumblr.com/

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    1. Definitely do, it's a beautiful adaptation <3

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  29. I read this book ages ago when i was back in high school (just goes to show how old i am! ugh! ) and i remember really loving it - i think for many people it was a bit of a life-changing book - sort of functioned in much the same way as the catcher in the rye was supposed to. to be honest, i forget much of the plot but an planning on reading it again sometime soon and then watching the film!

    lovefromberlin.net

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    1. I hope you love it as much this time around too <3

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  30. perks was much more thought provoking than i expected - it was a very refreshing read. i'm really interested to read his other books too! x

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    1. It's a beautiful read, definitely very refreshing! xo

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  31. Perks is one of those books all my friends ADORED and I never got around to reading. It's probably a good time now that there's the movie to indulge in afterwards!

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    1. Definitely! They work perfectly together too <3

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  32. I think it's about time I read this, I've heard so many good things about it! Lovely review :) xx

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  33. I adore your reviews Jennie - your writing gets better and better by the day, I swear! I haven't read the book but I've seen the film and I really enjoyed it. Em Watson! <3 xxx

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    1. Aww gosh, thank you sweet! Emma is so perfect in it! <3

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    1. I high recommend if you manage to find a few spare hours! xo

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  35. Great post! I've been wanting to read this book and I think your post has finally given me the push! I loved the quotes :)

    xoxo

    http://perlasancheza.blogspot.com/

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  36. This post is probably one of my favourite posts ever as much as this book is one of my favourite books ever. I got to know it through Emma Watson and read it before the film and it was just perfect! I love and agree to everything that you've written in this post and you definitely picked the right quotes! My favourite is probably the one with "We are who we are for a lot of reasons..."
    It's definitely a good book for your teenage years and I hope to be able to give it to my kid some day but I also hope that I'll read it again - I definitely will anyway but I'm just curious about what it's going to feel llike when I'm 30 or 50 or 80. That makes me think of Harry Potter actually^^ Do you know this quote which goes something like "When I'm 80 I'll be sitting in my rocking chair and my grandchildren will ask me 'after all this time?' and I will say 'always'"
    Fun fact: my mum has started reading Perks now and at the beginning she thought Charlie was a girl!!! I really don't know what gave her that idea but I guess it's because I talked about Emma starring in the film so much^^

    xx Jenni

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    1. Aww that's so cute! Emma is really fabulous in the film <3

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  37. I love love love this book. It is one of my all-time favourites. And I agree, the film is just as wonderful xx
    Scottish Wendy | Wendy's World

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    1. They work really well together I think <3

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  38. Love how you review books on your blog Jennie

    and this one is definitely on my "To Read List"

    ..x

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  39. I read this book at twenty one, so far later than most people did. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did but I think the way its written is what makes it affect people as much as it does.

    It's so beautifully honest.

    x

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    1. Absolutely, it's so honest and utterly beautiful <3

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  40. Oh gosh. This has been on my list for ages.. My mental one. I should add it to my goodreads as I keep forgetting.. Nice to see some thoughts more than 140 characters on the book. I think it just went up my list, it sounds so lovely!

    xx

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Thank you so much for reading! I love when you leave your thoughts so I would love if you left me a little comment, I read every single one, they mean so much and I try my very best to reply to each one!

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