BBW Day 8: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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Friday – Contest to win The Chocolate War
Saturday – The Giver by Lois Lowry
Sunday – Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Monday – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Tuesday – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Wednesday – 12 hour shift at work and sickness =(
Thursday – re-cap of the week so far
Friday – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Saturday – Today’s review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

I decided that during Banned Books Week, besides just blogging about it, I would also read a book from the banned/challenged lists found on the American Library Association’s website. After coming across The Perks of Being a Wallflower so many times, I figured that would be the one I read – especially since I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now.

 

perks of being a wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-671-02734-6
Published: 1999
My edition: published in 1999, 213 pages long, Simon & Schuster

Standing on the fringes of life offeres a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, and grown into a cult sensation with over half a million copies in print.
It is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. The worl of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

 

REASONS FOR CHALLENGES/BANNING

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on the Top 10 Challenged Books in 2004 (#5), 2006 (#8), 2007 (#10) and 2008 (#6). The book was on the list in 2005-2006 (lists prior to 2004 are unavailable). Stephen Chbosky has been on the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century in 2006 and 2008. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not found on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990-1999 due to being published in 1999. We’ll have to check back in 2010 to see what number it comes in at for 2000-2009.

Most common reasons that were noted in suggestions for banning were: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, drugs, nudity and themes of suicide.

 

REVIEW…beware of possible spoilers

I’m not usually one to pick up life stories. I tend to pick up a book because I want to escape life, not live it through other people in the pages of a novel. I like my stories to have fantasy elements to them, be it through fantasy, sci-fi, apocalypse, the future, etc. I avoid coming-of-age, real life, fiction – I usually just have no desire to read novels like that (this is not to say I haven’t. Scribbler of Dreams, Lombardo’s Law and My Sister’s Keeper are good examples of life stories I have read and loved). I can add The Perks of Being a Wallflower to that list, now.

The novel, written through letters that Charlie is sending to an anonymous friend (presumably you, the reader), the story is an engaging telling of one boy’s journey through freshman year of high school. Charlie’s letters walk us through his first dates, kisses, girlfriends, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters and more. Through Charlie’s voice, we come to realize that there are things going on in his world that we are unaware of, and the big reveal at the end of the novel, though surprising, really isn’t, in the fact that we should have known something like that was coming.

I can understand why parents may take offence to some of the subject matter in Perks, but the writing style and characterization of the novel is brilliantly done and this novel deserves to be read and not locked away from libraries or school reading lists. Most teens will encounter at least one, if not all, of the things that Charlie talks about during their high school career, and maybe this book will help them see what not to do, or what to do in certain circumstances. Maybe it will help them avoid situations they don’t want to get into, but can’t recognize the signs. Maybe, it will just be a great book that they read one weekend.

heart 4

And with this review, Banned Books Week comes to an end. The contest will continue to run until midnight tonight, and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow evening after 5:00pm AST. I had fun this week and I will definitely continue reading banned books. I don’t let people tell me what to eat, or wear, why would I let them tell me what I can read?

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One thought on “BBW Day 8: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  1. Pingback: Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky « Voracious YAppetite

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