Not for the first time in my life and certainly not the last, I found myself reading a book ten years after I should have. Dozens of my friends and random strangers have shrieked in nerd-horror when I would tell them I’ve never read Wallflower, to which I would answer with a shrug, mutter something along the lines of “Harry Potter” and slink away into the shadows. In all honesty, I never felt the dire need to sink my teeth into this novel. There are two main reasons for this:
- Everyone says this book has changed their lives and I was worried it wouldn’t affect my existence the way it has undoubtedly affected millions of other readers.
- I couldn’t find a copy of this book with the NORMAL COVER and not one littered with B-list celebrities. Buying a book with pictures of actors from its movie is a mortal sin, haven’t you heard?
I’m already laughing at the amount of shit I’m going to get from my friends when they read this review. This book (albeit a literary staple) simply did not affect me as it did them. I’m not sure if it’s because deep down I truly do not care about the trials and tribulations of a prepubescent white boy or if I was simply expecting way too much from this novel from the very beginning. I’m leaning towards the latter.
Once I started this book, I was waiting for the clouds to part and angels to come flying down, scooping me up in their arms and showing me the true meaning of life. For me, it just never happened. I find myself more affected by books centered around murder and Stockholm Syndrome which says a bit too much about me as a person (I’m 99% positive I was a serial killer in my previous life, no need to be alarmed).
The book is written from Charlie’s (main character) point of view via a series of letters to the reader. Charlie is a fifteen years of age and a freshman in high school. It’s a time of adolescence, confusion and getting a grip on your new surroundings all while trying to conceal a boner when standing in front of your classmates. Dealing with the suicide of his best friend, Charlie finds himself alone the majority of the time while dealing with his depression. Enter Patrick and Sam, step-siblings who take Charlie in and treat him like one of their own. With the aid of his newfound friends Charlie is able to break though social barriers and become comfortable being his true awkward and overly sentimental self. His English teacher also has a major impact on his life, constantly telling him how gifted he believes he is and lends him many a novel to help find his voice. In all honesty, I kept waiting for his English teacher to come out as some sort of pedophile, but in the end he turns out to just be a genuinely nice guy. Again, that’s the overly cynical creep in me speaking.
I would like to point out that Chbosky does a phenomenal job of writing as an average fifteen-year-old kid dealing with a plethora of shitty situations. However, throughout the book we’re lead to believe that Charlie is somewhat of a literary genius. His writing was so simple, for lack of a better word. I felt as if I was reading through my own diary from freshman year and even then I know my writing was already light years greater than Charlie’s. Run-on sentences are the anti-Christ.
Please do not get me wrong, I am fully aware that Charlie endured some horrible hardships throughout his short life and is struggling to get a grasp on reality. He needs intensive psychological evaluation (which he inevitably receives). Perhaps I felt it too hard to sympathize with Charlie. Every other chapter he’s bursting into tears for literally NO REASON AT ALL. He sobbed uncontrollably in the middle of a party because he was literally just happy. I laugh at people when they cry in real life, for pete’s sake, so obviously I’m not going to take any part of that seriously. And I’d like to point out, if Charlie was a girl who continuously broke down in tears, she would undeniably be perceived as weak. I know I’m not wrong about that.
I understand why so many teenagers connect so deeply with this book, I really do. They also probably read it while they were going through a lot of the same situations Charlie found himself in. However, I’m no longer in high school (THANK THE FRICKEN LORD) and all of those situations are ones I now look back and laugh hysterically at. Because none of them were worth my time and I’m old enough to know that now, sans life-changing book.
If you’re under the age of 17, click here to buy this book.
If you’re any age besides that, watch the freaking movie. Preferably the remake, because Emma Watson is in it and Hermione is bae.
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XOXO – G ♥