Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's been about a week now since I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and I'm still trying to decide if I liked it. And part of me is worried that I'm judging it as an adult, separated from the time the book depicts.

Things I really liked about it:
-The letter to a "friend" device. There's something freeing about that idea. It reminds me of Postsecret a lot, and I love Postsecret. There's an element of unflinching honesty at the same time that there's an element of self-censoring.

-The coverage of so many teen issues.

-The growth in Charlie's voice over the course of all those letters.

Things I didn't like:
-Sometimes, especially in the beginning, it felt like I was reading a letter written by a 12-year-old, not a kid who was supposedly tremendously bright.

-The layers and layers of abuse storylines. I'm not denying that this aspect is probably very honest to some, but it seemed overdone. It's as if once you adjust to one person's story involving sexual abuse, another is added. And I'll admit that it helps explains some things, but then it gets in the way of other aspects of the story.

-Charlie wore me thin, and it's a thin book. That's why it took so long to finish. I could only take that kid in small doses.

And I think what Sam describes as a wallflower is only related to Charlie at brief moments and for particular people. Charlie never gets to know much about the people he doesn't love completely.

I think I'm voting that I didn't like the book enough to say that I liked it.

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