The book that we all read this month was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
The Basis: Chbosky spins a tale of a 15 year old boy navigating the waters of High School. This is definitely a coming of age tale, written in a letter-style journal. Throughout the book, Charlie strives to be very vague about the people and specific details of his life. However, he recounts the most important moments of his first year of high school, from the loss of a friend, to fitting in, to dealing with mental health issues, and abuse. If you ever had to experience something in your entire life, Charlie probably recounts the experience and works through it in this book.
My thoughts: I was left feeling dissatisfied with this book. To me, it felt impossible that one person could go through so many things, could have so much tragedy, in one short year of life. And while I could have dealt with that, the issue that I really took with this book was how contrary Charlie was as a character. Charlie talks of "feeling infinite", he talks of the transformative power of music, and very abstract, deep, mature things. He is a voracious reader. And yet, he has so many issues with social cues, and social understanding, you wonder if he has troubles with Autism or Aspergers. As a person who has had a very deep relationship with someone who had a disability on the Autism spectrum, I simply can not reconcile the way that Chbosky constructed his main character.
In addition, I felt like this book was somewhat inappropriate for any person under the age of 18. The themes of this book were so dark, so desperate. There were parts of this book where my soul connected, and I remembered exactly how I felt when I was in Charlie's situation. Yet if I had read those same passages at the time when I was experiencing those things? I don't think it would have been nearly as powerful.
Buy, Borrow, or skip: I would say borrow. Much as I didn't love it, I do believe that this book is worth a little time. It's a quick read, I think I finished it in 3 hours or so. Is it something I would buy and put on my bookshelf? Nope.
Wanna join the fun? The next book has yet to be selected! Go visit Alyx, Kim, or Kaylee to help pick the next book, and join us next month for video chatting and book reviewing fun!