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July 27, 2017

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

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Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

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N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

the perks of being a wallflower by stephen chbosky

Perfectly Imperfect

Many readers consider Stephen Chbosky’s coming of age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower  a modern classic. It’s easy to see why the focus on identity has helped it become required reading for numerous high school classrooms, in spite of a provocative nature which frequently places it on challenged book lists.

The recent film adaptation also continues to spread the story’s appeal. Yet, for all its charm, the story contains noticeable flaws.

The affecting nature of the novel is achieved via therapeutic letters that Charlie writes to an unnamed friend. He is afraid of starting high school. Plus, he is trying to deal with the recent suicide of his only friend and death of his beloved aunt. The epistolary format feels like a stretch at times, especially when it comes to conveying long passages of dialogue. Even more jarring is Charlie’s voice. Journal and letter writing is very casual and intimate. Couple that with a teenager’s unpolished writing, and some readers will likely find the prose awkward.

the perks of being a wallflower by stephen chboskyCharlie is more than a little lost. His shy, introspective ways stem from various psychological issues which are revealed as the story progresses. By the end of the story, it does indeed seem like Charlie has experienced every element of teenage angst imaginable, such as trying LSD, aiding in an abortion, and feeling unrequited love. Conflicts abound, perhaps more than some deem believable, but the onslaught of issues really is true to many teens’ lives.

At times it may also feel like the characters are too one-dimensional: the clichéd gay friend, the well-intentioned English teacher, the racist grandfather. Yet, part of growing up is learning how to deal with the stereotypes all people try to apply to one another. Charlie’s therapist encourages him to participate, and he eventually comes to a better understanding of why people need something in their lives worth living for.

Despite his imperfection, Charlie’s endearing qualities creep into the reader’s heart. He always gets his acquaintances the perfect gift, he loves his mom very much, and he tries to be a good friend. Toward the end of the book, his love interest tells him, “’You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.’”

So how is it that a book with such obvious flaws can be touted as being practically perfect? It’s one of those rare instances where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Even when coincidence seems to solve too many conflicts in the book, the story leaves the reader feeling like they too have survived everything right along with Charlie. By the end of the book, both reader and narrator will experience what it means to feel infinite.

Do you feel this book is a modern classic?

JeriWB’s Rating: 4.25 Stars (“Really Liked It”)

For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria or visit the Review Request Page.

This review was originally posted on JeriWB: What do I know?

Jeri (9 Posts)

Jeri Walker-Bickett was born and raised in Wallace, Idaho, a rough and tumble mining town with a checkered past. The storytelling urge struck at a young age, but an undergraduate degree in writing led to a graduate degree in English education. Between living the scholarship-laden life of an academic bum, she did seasonal work in national parks. Jeri met her future husband in Yellowstone and they later married in Las Vegas. This phase in their lives sparked an obsession with food and travel. Fate has intervened to allow her to take time off from the classroom. Her forthcoming novel, Lost Girl Road, is a ghost story that takes place in the woods of northwest Montana. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and their pets.